Can jaw surgery cause permanent facial numbness?Cosmetic Dentistry Dental Jaw Surgery
My parents are really against me undergoing jaw surgery due to the possible risks of permanent facial numbness. Can jaw surgery cause permanent facial numbness, and how can these risks be minimised?
Jaw surgery is a safe oral surgical procedure when done by a well-trained, experienced oral surgeon. Nonetheless, with all surgeries, there are risks that your oral surgeon will share with you before the procedure.
Facial numbness is a side effect of jaw surgery and typically temporary. For an upper jaw surgery, the areas that will feel numb include the cheeks, upper lip and teeth. As for a lower jaw surgery, your lower lip, chin, teeth and possibly the tongue, will feel numb. Depending on whether it is a lower or an upper jaw surgery, it generally takes 2 - 12 months for the numbness to fade.
Permanent facial numbness happens when the nerve is damaged. Though uncommon, there is this risk. Therefore, during your consultation with your oral surgeon, he/she will get you to take a CT scan so that a detailed examination can be done on your jaw, including where the nerve runs. He/she will then advise you on the level of risk for permanent facial numbness.
Dr Ho Kok Sen, Oral Surgeon
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