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Lower molar extraction - fear of numb throat



Junior member
Jun 20, 2024
Hi all! I’m new here! So glad to have found everyone. Quick back story: many yrs ago I had all 4 wisdoms teeth pulled. Dr numbed the palate of my mouth in the middle which numbed my throat. Had my very first panic attack and the start of my dental anxiety-mostly about throat being numb.
This Friday I need to have my lower rt molar pulled. It’s infected and dentist says it can’t be saved. I’ve already had so many teeth pulled out. I really wanted to save it but dentist is adamant there’s no way.
Now my fear is because it’s so far back, my throat will be affected. It’s causing me so much anxiety. (Usually when I go in I’m so scared my BP is 160+/100+).
I tried to put it off but the pain is returning. My dentist is awesome and she is the only one I allow to numb me because she knows my fear. They always have suction ready to prevent any going down my throat. But anxiety still there. Any help or insight would be so appreciated.
I think I have read other posts about numb throat.I think dentists reply was that although it may feel odd you can still breathe and swallow normally.Easy to say I know but the more you can relax the easier it will be.Thank goodness you have a kind dentist!My lower molar extraction is on Monday.I will be shaking but it’s only for a short while.Let me know how you get on x
Hi @CrochetMama808 and welcome,

with a nerve block in the lower jaw, it's possible to get a numb throat feeling. However, this feeling will only be on the side that's been numbed, the other side won't be affected at all. With your wisdom teeth surgery, you were getting both sides done at the same time, which explains why both sides of the throat were affected at the same time.

But if you're only getting work done on one side of the mouth, the worst case scenario is that half the throat might feel numb.

The important bit to remember is that the numbing only ever affects the sensory nerves, not the motor nerves. All the normal functions of the muscles of the throat remain. So you will still be able to swallow, breathe, and have gag responses to foreign objects. I know, that's hard to rationalise because we're so used to experiencing movement and sensation simultaneously, as part of one and the same thing, but they are actually two distinct processes.

In nature, long before there were modern local anaesthetics, numbness and not being able to breathe would have often gone hand in hand when our ancestors checked out new potential plant foods which turned out to be poisonous. So from an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense to panic when you feel numb. And also, numb areas in the mouth always feel swollen, fat and puffy (even when they're not), so it's easy to think that your throat is "swelling shut" when it's just the lack of sensation that's causing this feeling. I'm not sure why that is (Google might have the answer).

You may also find that this time round, you don't experience a numb throat at all, it's by no means a given :). @Gordon might know more about how common a numb throat is?