Dentistry may not always impress people as much as surgery, emergency room work, or other medical procedures. This is not actually fair; in truth, dentists are medical professionals who perform necessary and sometimes risky procedures. Whether a dentist is performing surgery, such as wisdom tooth removal, or a relatively routine procedure such as filling a cavity, there is a chance that he or she will accidentally injure the patient. One type of dental injury is called lingual nerve damage.
The lingual nerve runs along the jaw and into the tongue. It carries sensory information from the tip of tongue, including touch and taste. It can be damaged by an error made during oral surgery or by a poorly given injection of anesthesia. This damage can cause chronic problems for the patient, such as:
When lingual nerve damage is caused by a dentist, it is most often the result of an injection of anesthesia that was improperly administered.
The symptoms of a damaged lingual nerve usually resolve themselves over time, but some patients are left with chronic pain or numbness. Since this is a rare form of injury, most dentists do not know enough about how to treat it. Patients suffering from nerve damage sometimes have to see expensive specialists.