Why Is My Jaw Numb?

There are several reasons your jaw is numb. Although sometimes, numbness in the jaw is a minor problem, it may still be a sign of a medical problem that must be immediately evaluated by your doctor.

One of the reasons could be cancer. The loss of sensation in this area is actually one of the first symptoms of a malignant tumor. The most common malignant types of cancers that can result in chin numbness will include lymphoma and breast cancer. Lung cancer and prostate malignant tumor may also cause this symptom.


Any type of injuries to your jaw can cause jaw numbness. For example, if you got involved in motor vehicle accident, you’re likely to suffer this symptom. Some dental procedures may also damage the inferior alveolar nerve in your jaw causing numbness or tingling sensation in your lower jaw.

Multiple sclerosis may also be a culprit. It’s a disease affecting the myelin sheath that covers your nerve cells. However, if you do have this condition, jaw numbness is associated with a loss of vision, paralysis and sensory losses.

Trigeminal Neuralgia and jaw numbness

One of the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia is jaw numb. It’s a nerve pain affecting your face. The pain can be sharp and severe that eating or drinking can be too difficult. It can come and go. But each time it attacks, it can last up to two minutes. For some, the pain can be more frequent until it never stops.

No matter how painful it is, it’s not life-threatening. The pain can flare up for a few days, weeks or months. Then, it disappears for a while.

This condition usually happens in patients older than 50 years old. However, some younger individuals may also experience it. It affects women than men.

There are several factors that trigger numbness in the jaw and pain. Shaving, applying makeup, washing your face, drinking and eating can cause it. Although it’s not yet fully understood what the main cause of it, experts think that it’s the blood vessel that’s pressing against the trigeminal nerve may trigger the pain.


But, just because you have numbness in your jaw doesn’t mean that you have trigeminal neuralgia. It’s best to consult your dentist about it. He/she will take your medical history and perform a physical examination.

You should tell your doctor about the details of your jaw pain and numbness to further help him/her in making a diagnosis. To eliminate other causes of pain, imaging testing may also be performed.

What treatments are available?

Jaw numbness with jaw pain may be alleviated through the use of a painkiller. However, if the pain and numbness are the results of trigeminal neuralgia, you will need a specific treatment.

One of them is anticonvulsant medicine. Tricyclic anti-depressant may work. However, if these two drugs failed to provide you with relief, surgery may be the best option.

On the other hand, if you don’t like undergoing surgery, you may choose acupuncture, biofeedback, and radiofrequency ablation.

You should ask your dentist about the best treatment based on your condition.

Is there a way to prevent trigeminal neuralgia and stop jaw pain and numbness?

Experts are still finding out the ways to prevent this condition. What you can do now is to learn what sort of activities that can trigger the numbness and pain. Once you know them all, you can avoid them so there won’t be triggers at all.

Dental paresthesia

It’s one of the common complications of extracting your wisdom tooth. Dental paresthesia may also be the result of a dental injection.

In this condition, the tissues and structures around your mouth experience prolonged altered sensation because of a nerve trauma. The trauma can cause stretching and crushing the nerves. In rare cases, the trauma could cause the nerves to be severed.

Your risk of experiencing jaw numbness in oral surgery may depend on the position of the tooth in the jawbone. If the tooth that will be removed lies close to the nerve, it may traumatize the nerves. Now, if the tooth is extracted against the nerve, it can cause nerve trauma resulting in jaw numbness.

Some instruments that will be used in removing the tooth or bone tissue may increase your risk of jaw numbness, depending on how they’re used.

As regards to dental injection, jaw numbness may be the result of a damage in the nerve because of the needle itself. Bear in mind that the largest gauge of a needle in dentistry is 0.45 mm. This will surely increase chances of damaging the nerves.

On another note, needle movement through the soft tissues may cause blood vessels to rupture. When it happens, it allows blood release. The anesthesia that’s injected can cause localized damage to the nerve fibers.

Sometimes, jaw numbness may only be felt after a few days or weeks of wisdom teeth extraction. You may also experience tingling sensation and some itchiness in the extracted area. The tingling sensation can be a good sign that the nerve is healing. It can last up to 12 months. In some rare cases, however, it never goes back to normal.

To know the exact reason of why your jaw is numb, you should have your condition evaluated by an oral surgeon. Nicholas S St. George, DDS specializes in mandibular nerve repair. He can provide you with some possible options for your condition. Although the numbness may not be life-threatening, it can still interfere with your life.

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