I didn't KNOW I had a lingual nerve injury for a long time - no one ever told me. I just knew my mouth burnt like heck, to the point where even talking was excruciating, and I was unquenchably thirsty, starting the day after a routine dental visit. Ten weeks later, after my dentist had twice blown me off saying I just had "sensitive teeth" or "allergies", and 5 doctors failed to diagnose me, including neurologists at the Cleveland Clinic, I finally figured it out on my own, through numerous hours spent online researching my symptoms and learning more than I ever want to know about dental anatomy.
I have no medical background whatsoever, I just cared more than they did, and had more urgency because I was in terrible pain. I've attached a link to the Wiki page that illustrates what a lingual nerve is as part of the trigeminal nerve branch...(click the headline of this post for the link).
My Lingual Nerve injury was caused by a "needle stick" - the dentist hit a nerve during a simple anesthesia injection. I do remember just about jumping out of the chair when I felt that injection and signaling to him that I was in pain (which he ignored). Starting the next day, New Year's, I just knew my tongue was on fire, and I couldn't drink enough water, no matter how much. Then the migraines and teeth throbbing started, and it all went downhill from there. I began an expensive round-robin being bounced around to doctors all over town trying to figure out what was wrong with me. No one ever did.
After much internet research, I diagnosed myself with lingual nerve injury, which was later confirmed by the head of the orofacial pain clinic at a nearby University. My dentist still has never admitted to anything. And, by the way, during this time, I also had to endure 2 root canals that he'd missed, which also meant finding other doctors to perform these procedures, hoping that they wouldn't make things even worse.
Burning Mouth Syndrome has some similarities though it's different, but in fact, my dentist misdiagnosed me with BMS (even though I said, isn't odd it would start the very day after my dental visit? And only hurt on ONE SIDE?). He didn't want to admit any liability, but if he had treated me immediately, I might have had a much swifter, more successful recovery. My guess is some people who've been told they have BMS could, like me, actually have a lingual or alveolar nerve injury, not BMS, and don't even realize it. Think about when your symptoms started (after dental work?) and whether it seems worse on one side than the other.
- burning tongue
- throbbing, sensitive teeth (such as to wind blowing, or to cold)
- feeling like the tongue is clamped
- many people report "battery acid" or "crackling electrical" feeling on the tongue
- numbness and/or loss of taste - or, just the opposite, hypersensitivity
- chemical taste, "chewing tin foil" feeling
- feeling like you've been punched in the cheek that doesn't go away
- teeth feeling like they are "on ice" or tightly held by a vice-grip
It is thought that this is seriously underreported, so if you have suffered numbness or pain that lingers for weeks or more after a dental visit, please do post here. I've set it up so you can post anonymously if you so choose. Sometimes the Inferior Alveolar nerve is injured. Though some injuries happen from clumsy, imprecise injections with "novocaine" (aka lidocain, articane, septicane, carbocaine, etc...). my understanding is it may even more often happen when wisdom teeth are being extracted (on the bottom).
If you are feeling burning pain on your tongue and teeth, gums or lining of the mouth and/or cheek, I am sorry for the pain that brought you here. There is already a board called Lingual Nerve Injury Forum, and also sciental.net, which are quite good in their own right, however as usually happens with these things, posts begin to drop off as the injured recovers or just gets so sick and tired of being sick and tired after 6 months or more that he/she stops posting.
That leaves those of us who are still suffering dangling and looking for hope elsewhere. So I decided to start my own blog. Since there are so few people who understand this crazy condition, I find great comfort in sharing notes and stories with others who are in the same boat, and want to keep it going. I welcome all of your posts and hope you will vigorously participate. Let's try to keep it nice here guys, we are here to support one another, goodness knows we are all dealing with enough pain already...
I have been struggling with this injury for 4 months now. Some people are lucky; they have temporary numbness (parasthesia) or burning pain (dysesthesia) for just a few days or weeks. But for some, the pain just continues 24x7 for months on end - some even report still not feeling normal after many years.
Already I've made it through the worst part, when I wanted to end it all rather than go through another day of this Hell on earth. It is getting better, but I still never feel normal - not for one stinkin' day...Maybe for a few hours when I first wake up, til I start eating and talking.
Since nerves heal exceedingly slowly (1mm per day is what I'm told) there is no telling just how long til you're better - assuming you are one of the 85% that makes a full recovery. If you see signs of recovery within the first few months, your chances of recovery are said to be better.
If you've already recovered, or think you may have this injury but aren't sure, please share your story- including treatments you used and how long it took - whatever you think might help someone who is still in the trenches. Share with others and warn anyone who's going to the dentist.
This injury can happen any time a dentist or oral surgeon doesn't take proper care. Everyone's anatomy is different, so the nerves aren't always in exactly the same place, but dentists know this, and are taught in dental school how to handle this and to react when a patient complains because something may have occurred to injure the nerve. However, in my case, my appointment was on the last day of the year, and it was a packed house, with everyone trying to get their dental work done before the new insurance deductible started for 2010. The dentist rushed the procedure and accidentally injured me; but worst of all was that he ignored my complaints afterward and all my pleading for help with the pain for weeks afterward. I learned what a crazy and debilitating condition lingual nerve injury actually is. Many other innocent and trusting dental patients have been injured - let's hear YOUR story.
UPDATE- I've now been writing this blog now for over 3 years and there have been many tips, updates, and contributions from others who share a similar fate; you can link to and browse those additional articles on the right hand side of this page. We also have a Facebook page, the address of which is mentioned in some of my later posts (2011-2012). Please feel free to comment here and send friend requests on FB.