Acupuncture Therapies for Addressing Post Odontectomy Neuropathy

03 November 2021

Published Online:18 Oct 2021https://doi.org/10.1089/acu.2020.1472

Abstract

Background: Third-molar extraction is a common oral surgical procedure that can cause complications. Although rare, nerve injuries that result in permanent neuropathy can occur and include a variety of complaints such as sensory disorders, taste–sensation disorders, speech articulation disorders, etc. Acupuncture is one of several nonpharmacologic therapies that has played a role in managing neuropathic lesions and has been proven to produce good results.

Case: A 44-year-old woman with postodontectomy neuropathy developed paresthesia, dysarthria, xerostomia, dysgeusia, pain in the gums and lower right jaw, a chewing disorder, and cephalgia. Her numerical rating scale (NRS) results were: lower right gum pain, 3/10; numbness of the tongue, 4/10; and headache, 1/10. A physical examination revealed dysarthria, a decreased sense of sharpness and dullness in the right mandibular nerve branches, decreased right masseter muscle contractions, and tenderness on the right GB 20 point. Electromyography revealed partial functional lesions in the postganglion at the right fifth cranial nerve. She had body acupuncture therapy at GV 20, GB 20, ST 5, ST 6, ST 7, CV 23, LI 4, HT 5, ST 36, LU 7, and KI 6; ear acupuncture at the Parotid and Shenmen points; and treatment with the Tan Balance Method.

Results: After 3 consecutive sessions of acupuncture therapy, this patient's symptoms were reduced.

Conclusions: Acupuncture was helpful for reducing paresthesia, dysarthria, xerostomia, dysgeusia, gum and lower right jaw pain, a chewing disorder, and cephalgia in this patient with postodontectomy neuropathy. Clinical trials are needed to support the findings in this case.

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