For two weeks or so I was having some pretty bad wisdom tooth pain. The pain had come and gone in the past, but this time it was more intense and just would not let up. I was 24 years old at the time and hadn’t been to the dentist since I was a child (bad I know). Although I was pretty nervous, I decided to bite the bullet and make an appointment with the dentist to have my mouth examined. The day of my appointment I learned that I had 4 cavities and needed to have all four of my wisdom teeth pulled. All four! I was terrified. Before I knew it, I had an appointment scheduled for the next day to have all of my wisdom teeth extracted.
I was pretty nervous leading up to my appointment. The dentist prescribed me a few Valium to help with my nerves. That didn’t help. My husband and family assured me that everything would be okay, that this was a routine procedure. That didn’t help either. On September 27, 2010 I went to the dentist to have all four of my wisdom teeth extracted, whether I liked it or not.
During the procedure I felt fine. There was absolutely no pain whatsoever. However, I did notice that the dentist was having some trouble extracting the molar on the lower right hand side of my mouth. He pulled and tugged and at one point had to break my tooth in half in order to remove it. Still, I didn’t think anything of it. Once the procedure was complete, I gave myself a pat on the back and headed home. That’s when my life as I knew it changed.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back, there was a sign that something wasn’t quite right. I noticed that whenever I removed the bloody gauze from the lower right-hand side of my mouth (where the damage occurred) there was an excruciating pain that traveled throughout the entire area. I mean excruciating. At the time I thought it was just a part of the process… something that happens when your teeth are extracted, however, I now know that this pain was a result of my lingual nerve being injured during the extraction.
The next day, after the numbing medication wore off, I noticed that one half of my tongue was still numb. My husband immediately called the dentist and he recommend that I come in the same day. My dentist informed me that my nerve was probably nicked during the extraction and it would most likely heal within the next few weeks. Well, here I am, 2 1/2 years later and still living with lingual nerve damage.
I deal with the pain of a burning tongue every single day, 24/7. However, I will say that some days are better than others. While I made significant progress during my first year of recovery, I’m not sure that I’ve made any progress in my second year and so on. My new dentist told me during a recent visit that this may be something that I will have to learn to live with. That’s definitely easier said than done.