Planning To Extract A Compacted Wisdom Tooth? These Three Things Determine Your Risk Of Paresthesia

Posted on: 6 February 2018

Paresthesia is a dental situation in which oral tissues or tissues around the mouth, such as tongue, lip, and mouth lining, among others, experience altered sensation as a result of nerve trauma. Paresthesia is one of the complications you may experience during an extraction of a compacted wisdom tooth.  Here are some of the factors that determine your risk of paresthesia:

The Complexity of the Surgical Intervention

Nerve damage related to impacted teeth does not always come from the tooth itself; the surgical intervention made to remove the impacted tooth and prevent further complication may also cause nerve damage. For example, the oral surgeon or dentist handling the extraction may nick and damage nearby nerve cells. The more complicated the surgery is the more it will result in damage to nearby tissues. Not only that, but a complicated surgery may also call for several injections of numbing drugs, and the actions of the needles may also cause nerve damage.

The Age of the Patient

One of the reasons some dentists advocate for early wisdom teeth removal is because it provides the chance to remove the tooth, whether or not it is impacted, before it can cause serious damage. For example, if your wisdom tooth has just erupted (say you are below the age of 25), it's possible that the tooth has not fully formed its roots or affected the surrounding tissues too much. The more you age the more the tooth becomes anchored into the jawbone and becomes dense; this increases the potential complexity of extracting the tooth, which in turn, increases the risk of nerve damage.

How Close It Is To Nearby Nerves

The proximity of the impacted tooth to nearby nerves is one of the essential factors that determine the risk of nerve damage. The closer the impacted tooth is to nearby nerves the more likely it is to cause nerve damage. For example, if the impacted tooth is leaning towards the tongue, it has a higher risk of causing damage to the lingual nerve, which is connected to the front of the tongue. The position and orientation of the tongue affect the risk of nerve damage because it determines how complex the surgery will be and where the injection will be made.

This kind of nerve damage may be temporary or permanent depending on the extent of the nerve damage. Your dentist will advise you on the treatment options if the situation doesn't resolve itself spontaneously after some time.