If you have recently had a dental implant placed and the area around has become numb notify your treating doctor. Post dental implant numbness is relatively rare but can be very nerve-racking when it occurs. Symptoms can range from feeling numbness in the lips or jaw to feeling slightly numb in the chin or tongue or other areas of the face. There are many different nerves in your jaw, and your dentist can damage a nerve in some way during the placement of the implant. Sometimes this can result in the nerve being compressed, and this can be relieved by having the implant removed and re-positioned. The resulting numbness can be purely temporary, or in rare cases, it can be permanent.
If you have had implants recently placed and are experiencing post dental implant numbness, then it is best to contact your dentist for advice. They will likely take dental x-rays to see what is going on, before deciding on an appropriate course of action.
It is also possible for the nerve to be temporarily damaged when the local anesthetic was injected. In such cases, it is pretty rare for the resulting numbness to last longer than a day, but it does occasionally last longer. If this is the case, then the nerve generally recovers after a few weeks, but if it has been quite severely damaged, it could take up to a year. The risk of post-dental implant numbness tends to be slightly higher if implants are used to replace missing lower back teeth.
Avoiding the Numbness after Dental Implant placement
It is important to remember that implant placement is a surgical procedure and that your choice of treating dentist does make a difference. Although things can occasionally go wrong, the chances of them doing so are greatly lessened by choosing a highly experienced dental surgeon who places many implants each year. They will have the necessary knowledge and skill to select the correct type of implant and to use an implant system best suited to your needs. In contrast, a surgeon who only places a few implants each year is more likely to be familiar with just one implant system and will lack the knowledge and skill necessary to use other unfamiliar systems that may be better suited to your needs.
Having a CT scan before the implant is placed enables your dentist to plan the surgery with much higher accuracy. The same degree of clarity cannot be obtained from a two-dimensional x-ray, and there is a higher chance of nerve damage that could result in post-dental implant numbness.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should notify your surgeon immediately.