Quality of life following injury to the inferior dental or lingual nerve – a cross-sectional mixed-methods study

N. Patel*, S. Ali, J. M. Yates

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Trigeminal nerve injury is one of the most problematic complications of dental/oral surgical procedures with significant consequences for patients, including neuropathy and facial pain. This presentation demonstrates the results of a cross-sectional survey studying the impact of nerve injury on patients’ quality of life. Method: Thirty patients attending a specialist nerve injury clinic at Manchester Dental Hospital were asked to complete an Oral Impact on Daily Performance (ODIP) questionnaire. Five further patients took part in semi-structured interviews. Each interview was recorded and responses were thematically analysed. Results: Eighteen patients had an inferior alveolar nerve injury and 12 had lingual nerve injuries. There was no significant difference in mean ODIP score – and therefore effect on quality of life, for gender or type of nerve injured (P < 0.05). Nerve injury most affected patients who enjoyed social contact with other people, their ability to eat and enjoy food. It also affected their capacity to maintain an emotional state without becoming irritable. The majority (70%) of nerve injuries were caused by dental extractions. There was also some evidence to show that patients who had sustained a nerve injury following the surgical removal of a wisdom tooth had a worse quality of life when compared to the other injury groups (P < 0.05, 95% CI). Results of the interviews further demonstrated a universal dissatisfaction of how the patient was initially managed following injury. Conclusion: Iatrogentic trigeminal nerve injury still remains a significant complication in dentistry with significant impact on patients’ quality of life. Managing patients appropriately after nerve injury may help to improve the overall care given to this patient group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalOral Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • inferior alveolar nerve
  • lingual nerve
  • nerve injury
  • oral surgery
  • quality of life
  • third molar complications


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