Lingual Nerve Injury

Steven B. Graff-Radford, DDS, Randolph W. Evans, MD


Headache. 2003;43(9) 

In This Article


Lingual nerve injury causing numbness, dysesthesia, paresthesia, and dysgeusia may complicate invasive dental and surgical therapies.[1] Lingual neuropathy also may be precipitated by infection and various metabolic, toxic, or systemic disorders. The lingual nerve is a branch of the third division of the trigeminal nerve. Although injury to the first or second trigeminal divisions may occur, this is less common (with the exception of herpes zoster, which typically affects the first division). The increased risk for surgical injury to the mandibular division may relate to anatomical issues. Trigeminal nerve injuries have been reported following tooth removal, tumor removal, osteotomy, distal wedge techniques, implant placement, and general dental therapies such as nerve block, crown preparation, and endodontic procedures.[2,3,4,5,6,7] Laryngoscopy, intubation, tongue manipulation, chemotherapy, radiation, and ischemic events may cause injury, also.[8,9,10,11,12] While all nerves respond similarly to injury, there may be genetic, hormonal, anatomical, physiologic, behavioral, or other factors that influence recovery.[13]