The mouth is a very busy place. It performs necessary daily functions, such as eating, breathing and speaking. While the tongue and teeth get all the headlines, there are many other parts that play important roles. The inferior alveolar nerve (IAN) is one of those parts.
Inferior Alveolar Nerve (IAN): Causes & Symptoms
Wisdom tooth extraction is one way in which the IAN can be damaged. The roots of the wisdom tooth can wrap around or push against the IAN. Nerve damage can result when this condition is present. There's also greater risk of IAN damage when a person has their wisdom teeth removed later in life. People typically get their wisdom teeth extracted during their late teenage years or early 20's. So removing them earlier rather than later is recommended by dentists. The University of Sheffield School of Clinical Dentistry (USSCD) notes that facial deformity surgery and facial fractures are two other ways, though not as common as wisdom tooth removal, that the inferior alveolar nerve can be damaged.
Regardless of how the IAN is damaged, there are symptoms to watch out for and pending issues that might arise due to the injury. A damaged IAN will reveal itself through pain or abnormal sensations in the chin, lower teeth, lower jaw and lower lips, according to the USSCD. Nerve damage may result in speech difficulties and/or affect chewing.
The mouth deserves the same type of care you provide to the rest of your body. A good foundation for lasting smile is to brush twice daily complemented by flossing. Consider using a powered toothbrush, like the Colgate 360° Total Advanced Powered toothbrush. It removes four times more bacteria than the leading battery powered toothbrush, and it powers away bacteria for a whole mouth clean. Lastly, remember to schedule regular dental checkups so that your dentist can monitor your oral health.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.