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In the article “What Happens If A Dentist Hits A Nerve?”, we delve into the potential and often anxiety-inducing scenario of nerve injury during dental procedures. You will learn about the symptoms that might arise if a nerve is accidentally hit, including tingling, numbness, or even pain that can extend beyond the immediate area. It’s essential to recognize these signs early to communicate effectively with your dentist and receive the prompt care needed to alleviate discomfort. At Sweet Water Dentistry, Dr. Phillip N. Greer and his dedicated team are committed to delivering compassionate and expert dental care, ensuring that such occurrences are managed with the utmost professionalism. They aim to provide a welcoming and relaxing environment for both adults and children, making Sweet Water Dentistry your trusted dental practice in Fairhope, AL. Visit them at 5915 Sweetwater Cir, Fairhope, AL 36532, or check out their website at https://sweetwatersmile.com for more information.
Have you ever found yourself gripping the armrests in a dental chair, fearing the dreaded moment when the dentist might accidentally hit a nerve? It’s a concern that many patients share, and understandably so. In this article, we’ll explore what happens if a dentist hits a nerve, and we’ll delve into the consequences, potential treatments, and how to prevent such incidents.

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Understanding Dental Nerves

You might wonder, “What exactly are dental nerves?” Well, dental nerves are part of the intricate nerve structure in your mouth that communicates sensations to your brain. Knowing these roots’ locations helps dentists avoid hitting them during procedures.

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Types of Dental Nerve Injuries

When a nerve is hit, a range of injuries can occur. These range from minor, temporary tingling to more severe, long-lasting damage. Let’s break them down:

  • Temporary Nerve Damage: This often results in tingling or numbness and usually resolves on its own within a few hours or days.
  • Persistent Nerve Damage: If you feel numbness or tingling that lasts for several weeks, it could be a sign of a more serious issue.
  • Permanent Nerve Damage: In rare cases, the nerve damage can be permanent, leading to chronic pain, loss of sensation, or other long-term issues.

Common Procedures Where Nerve Damage May Occur

Certain dental procedures carry a higher risk of nerve damage. Let’s look at some of these methods and what precautions your dentist takes to minimize risks.

Tooth Extractions

When extracting teeth, especially wisdom teeth, your dentist navigates around multiple nerves. Accurate imaging and careful surgical planning usually minimize the risk.

Root Canals

In root canals, your dentist must remove nerve tissue from the tooth’s interior. This procedure demands precision to prevent injuring surrounding nerves.

Dental Implants

Implant placement near nerve bundles can be risky. Dentists often use advanced imaging technologies like 3D scans to ensure safe implant positioning.

Fillings and Crowns

Procedures like fillings and crowns generally have a lower risk of nerve damage, but there’s still potential for complications if the work is done close to significant nerves within the tooth.

What Happens If A Dentist Hits A Nerve?

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Symptoms of Nerve Damage

Recognizing symptoms of nerve damage after a dental procedure is crucial for timely intervention. Common symptoms include:

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Numbness and Tingling

Often the first signs, numbness, and tingling can affect the lips, tongue, gums, or even your face.

Pain or Discomfort

Sharp, shooting, or constant pain isn’t normal after routine dental work and should be addressed immediately.

Sensory Changes

Loss of taste or changes in oral sensitivity can indicate nerve involvement.

Difficulty in Oral Functions

In severe cases, nerve damage can affect speaking, chewing, or swallowing.

If you experience any of these symptoms post-dental procedure, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dentist for an evaluation.

Diagnosis of Dental Nerve Damage

Identifying nerve damage early can improve treatment outcomes. Here’s how dental nerve damage is typically diagnosed.

Clinical Examination

Your dentist will start by examining the affected area, checking for signs of numbness, pain, or other abnormalities.

Imaging Techniques

X-rays, 3D scans, or even MRI can offer detailed views of your dental and nerve structure, helping to identify the extent and location of any damage.

Referral to Specialists

For more complex cases, your dentist may refer you to a neurology or oral surgery specialist for further assessment and treatment options.

What Happens If A Dentist Hits A Nerve?

Treatment Options for Nerve Damage

Once diagnosed, various treatment options are available, depending on the severity and nature of the damage.

Conservative Treatments

In minor cases, a “wait-and-see” approach may be sufficient, combined with over-the-counter pain relief and regular monitoring.


Anti-inflammatory drugs, pain relievers, or specialized medications like corticosteroids can help manage symptoms and reduce inflammation around the nerve.

Physical Therapy

Certain types of physical or occupational therapy can assist in managing chronic pain and restoring proper nerve function.

Surgical Intervention

In severe cases, surgical procedures might be necessary to repair or alleviate damaged nerves. This option is usually considered only when other treatments have failed.

Preventing Nerve Damage

Prevention always trumps treatment. Here are some steps both patients and dentists can take to minimize the risk of nerve damage.

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Advanced Diagnostics

Using advanced imaging techniques can help dentists better plan procedures, reducing the risk of hitting a nerve.

Skill and Experience

Experienced dentists who specialize in complex procedures often have better outcomes. Don’t hesitate to ask your dentist about their experience with specific treatments.

Patient Communication

Inform your dentist of any unusual symptoms or medical history that might increase your risk during treatment.

What To Do If You Suspect Nerve Damage

If you suspect nerve damage during or after a dental appointment, here’s what you should do:

  1. Stay Calm: Anxiety can heighten your perception of symptoms.
  2. Report Symptoms: Immediately inform your dentist of any numbness, tingling, pain, or other unusual feelings.
  3. Follow-Up Appointments: Attend any follow-up visits your dentist recommends to monitor your symptoms.

Meet Dr. Phillip N. Greer D.D.S. at Sweet Water Dentistry

At Sweet Water Dentistry, we take pride in our commitment to your oral health and well-being. Our practice, located at 5915 Sweetwater Cir, Fairhope, AL 36532, is dedicated to providing excellent dental care in a relaxing environment.

Our Mission

Our mission is to serve the community wholeheartedly by providing excellent dentistry characterized by love, peace, patience, kindness, and gentleness. We strive to create long-lasting, trusting relationships with every patient.

Why Choose Us?

We aim to be the most welcoming and relaxing dental practice in the Gulf Coast region. Our comprehensive range of services and dedication to patient care make us a top choice for families and individuals alike.

Accepted Insurances

We accept most insurance plans, making it easier for you to get the care you need. For more detailed information, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Contact Us

For more information or to make an appointment, please visit us online at Sweet Water Dentistry or call us at (251) 210-2773. We look forward to welcoming you to our dental family!

By now, you should have a better understanding of what happens if a dentist hits a nerve and how to treat and prevent such issues. If you ever have concerns about dental procedures or nerve damage, don’t hesitate to consult with your dentist. Your oral health and peace of mind are worth it!

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