2014 Aug;145(8):859-61. doi: 10.14219/jada.2014.45.

When to refer a patient with a nerve injury to a specialist.



Nerve injury is a known and accepted risk of many oral surgical and dental procedures. Such injuries may occur despite the practitioner's providing the best of care. Taking proactive measures during evaluation and surgery may reduce the incidence of nerve injury.


Injuries to the peripheral branches of the trigeminal nerve can cause unfavorable effects on orofacial sensation and related functions such as eating, drinking, washing, speaking, shaving and kissing.


When nerve injuries secondary to dental or oral surgery procedures fail to resolve promptly and the resulting dysesthesia is unacceptable to the patient, timely treatment gives the patient the best chance of a favorable outcome. Treatment may involve surgical exploration and repair of the injured nerve.


Recognition of and prompt referral for nerve injuries give the patient the best chance of achieving improvement or recovery of sensory function in the distribution of the injured nerve.