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What should I do if my wisdom tooth is touching the nerve? (photo)

Dental Wisdom Teeth

I’m a 21 year old female with an impacted wisdom tooth close to the nerve. I was told that I may get temporary or permanent nerve damage. What are my options?

Wisdom tooth touching nerve
DOCTOR’S ANSWER (2)

Hi there and thank you for your question. 

It is true that there is a possibility of temporary or permanent nerve damage following the removal of a lower wisdom tooth. I usually tend to ascertain this risk with the use of an Xray and quite often a 3D CT scan if the nerve is seen to be very close. 

This nerve that you refer to, supplies sensation to the lower lip and chin area on the same side of the wisdom tooth. Hence the natural concern and worry - as no body wants a numb lip !!!

Should the wisdom tooth not need to be removed, then naturally you will not have the risk of this potential nerve damage. However if there is preexisting decay of the wisdom tooth and even of the tooth adjacent to it, then it would be prudent to have this removed with a CT scan to aid pre-surgical planning with an experienced dentist or surgeon.

There are also other options by which the dentist may opt to remove the crown of the wisdom tooth alone and hence the roots will remain in-situ and thereby the nerve not damaged in anyway. This will be clearly discussed at the consultation visit and you will be able to participate in the decision making process.

Hope that this helps

Dr Samintharaj Kumar

393 views 31 Jan 2019

Yes. There are possibilities of temporary or permanent numbness after wisdom tooth surgery if it is touching a nerve, hooked, or close to the inferior alveolar nerve. This is because this nerve can be damaged from the vibration during surgery or even touched when extracted. 

Normally it would be advised not to get wisdom tooth extracted unless there are serious caries or gum disease around which causes pain. But wisdom teeth should be extracted if they cause pain even if it is close to or touching the nerve. 

For this cases, it is advisable to consider crown sectioning, which would be a good option during which the root remains inside the bone. This can prevent nerve damage and the remaining root will  come out as time passes and can be extracted easily when it comes out around gum a few months later. 

Thorough examination is required using a cone beam CT or an OPG X-ray to check the proximity of nerve to your wisdom tooth, for your treatment plan. 

Thanks so much.

Warm regards,

Ryan (Dr) 

311 views 11 Feb 2019
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