Can jaw surgery cause permanent facial numbness?

Doctor's Answers (1)

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. 

Best regards,

Dr Ho Kok Sen, Oral Surgeon

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