J Korean Dent Soc Anesthesiol.  2014 Jun;14(2):89-94. 10.17245/jkdsa.2014.14.2.89.

Peripheral Nerve Injuries Related to Local Anesthesia in the Dental Clinic

  • 1Department of Dental Anesthesiology and Dental Research Institute, School of Dentistry, Seoul National University, Korea. dentane@snu.ac.kr


Local anesthesia known as the safe and essential procedure to control pain in dentistry may cause sensory changes such as paresthesia or altered taste at the affected sites after even successful local anesthesia. Although the prognosis of the nerve injuries after local anesthesia is favorable, it might cause prolonged problems such as dysesthesia. The lingual nerve is a single fascicle at the level of the lingual among 1/3 of patients and more movable during regeneration compared to the inferior alveolar nerve after the injury. As a result, the lingual nerve is more vulnerable and has poorer outcomes. More vigilant clinical considerations are required to the lingual nerve injury after local anesthesia. Generally, more than 80% of cases are spontaneously resolved within 2 weeks after the local anesthesia even without any specific treatment. However, the patient having long lasting abnormal sensations more than 2 weeks needs specialists' care for further assessment. In case of dysesthesia which is a symptom of neuropathic pain, immediate referral to specialists is mandatory. The exact mechanism, how to prevent its occurrence, or specific treatments of the nerve injury related to the local anesthesia have not been elucidated. To prepare clinical or medicolegal problems, many cautious considerations are given to the patients who complain sensory changes after local anesthesia.


Complications; Lingual nerve; Local anesthesia; Nerve injury; Neuropathic pain
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