Nerve injury caused by mandibular block analgesia

Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2006 May;35(5):437-43. doi: 10.1016/j.ijom.2005.10.004. Epub 2005 Dec 15.


Fifty-four injection injuries in 52 patients were caused by mandibular block analgesia affecting the lingual nerve (n=42) and/or the inferior alveolar nerve (n=12). All patients were examined with a standardized test of neurosensory functions. The perception of the following stimuli was assessed: feather light touch, pinprick, sharp/dull discrimination, warm, cold, point location, brush stroke direction, 2-point discrimination and pain perception. Gustation was tested for recognition of sweet, salt, sour and bitter. Mandibular block analgesia causes lingual nerve injury more frequently than inferior alveolar nerve injury. All grades of loss of neurosensory and gustatory functions were found, and a range of persisting neurogenic malfunctions was reported. Subjective complaints and neurosensory function tests indicate that lingual nerve lesions are more incapacitating than inferior alveolar nerve lesions. Unlike most mechanical injuries after surgery, injection injuries were not followed by a course of spontaneous improvement of neurosensory and/or gustatory function. This may indicate neurotoxicity as a central aetiological factor. Fifty-four percent of the nerve injuries were associated with Articaine 4%, and a substantial increase in the number of injection injuries followed its introduction to the Danish market.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anesthesia, Dental / adverse effects*
  • Anesthesia, Dental / methods
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage
  • Anesthetics, Local / adverse effects*
  • Carticaine / administration & dosage
  • Carticaine / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections / adverse effects
  • Lidocaine / administration & dosage
  • Lidocaine / adverse effects
  • Lingual Nerve / drug effects
  • Lingual Nerve Injuries*
  • Male
  • Mandibular Nerve / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Block / adverse effects*
  • Prilocaine / administration & dosage
  • Prilocaine / adverse effects
  • Somatosensory Disorders / etiology*
  • Taste Disorders / etiology
  • Trigeminal Nerve Injuries*


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Prilocaine
  • Lidocaine
  • Carticaine