How to Get Rid of Numbness in Your Lip
Numbness often goes away on its own, but you can try some quick fixes to help get rid of a numb lip. Try taking an antihistamine or anti-inflammatory and, if your lip is also swollen, apply a cold compress. If there’s no swelling, apply a warm compress and try massaging your lips to increase blood flow. For persistent numbness, work with your doctor to identify and manage an underlying cause. If dizziness, confusion, difficulty speaking, or other serious symptoms accompany lip numbness, you may be having an allergic reaction and should seek emergency medical care immediately.
Trying Quick Fixes
Take an antihistamine.Numb or tingling lips could be related to a mild allergic reaction, especially when accompanied by itching, swelling, or an upset stomach. Try taking an over the counter allergy medication to manage numb or tingling lips and any accompanying symptoms.
- Note the food and drinks you consumed prior to the onset of your symptoms. Try to identify and eliminate the possible allergen from your diet. If you used a lip balm or similar product before experiencing numbness, stop using it.
- In severe food allergies, numbness and tingling can precede anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening allergic response that requires immediate medical care. Call your local emergency services and use an autoinjector such as an Epi-Pen if you have one.
Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling.If swelling accompanies your numbness, apply an ice pack to the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes. Swelling and numbness could result from an insect bite, a bump or other minor trauma, or allergies.
- Swelling could put too much pressure on facial nerves, which can cause numbness.
- You can also take an anti-inflammatory medication to help decrease swelling.
Apply a warm compress if no swelling is present.If no swelling is present, avoid using a cold compress. The issue could be related to a lack of blood flow to your lips, and applying a warm compress can help increase blood flow.
- Decreased blood flow could be a simple reaction to cold temperatures, or could indicate an underlying issue, such as Raynaud’s disease. If you experience additional symptoms, such as numbness in your extremities, contact your doctor.
Massage or wiggle the affected area.In addition to applying a warm compress, you could try massaging your lips to warm them and increase blood flow. Try moving your mouth and lips around and exhaling air between your lips to vibrate them.
- Wash your hands before and after massaging your lips.
Use a medication to minimize a cold sore.Numbness and tingling can occur just before a cold sore develops. If you suspect lip numbness might be due to a cold sore, apply an over the counter medicated ointment or talk to your doctor about a prescription antiviral pill.
- You could also try a homeopathic remedy such holding a slice of garlic over a cold sore for 10 to 15 minutes. However, even home remedies should be discussed with your doctor before use.
Managing an Underlying Cause
Ask your doctor if your medications can cause numbness.Some medications, such as prednisone, can cause facial numbness. Contact your doctor promptly if you believe you’re experiencing any side effects due to a medication.
- Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medications you take and ask about their side effects or potential interactions. Ask them to recommend an alternative if you believe a medication is causing your lip numbness.
Ask if you might have a vitamin B deficiency.Among other problems, a vitamin B-12 deficiency may lead to nerve damage which could cause tingling and numbness in your hands and feet, as well as muscle weakness. Ask your doctor if they recommend a blood test to diagnose a vitamin deficiency and whether you should take a supplement.
- You could be at risk of a vitamin B deficiency if you’re over 50, a vegetarian, have had weight-loss surgery, have a condition that interferes with food absorption, or take medications such as Nexium, Prevacid, or Zantac.
Talk to your doctor about Raynaud’s disease.If you consistently experience numbness in your face, hands, or feet, along with coldness or discoloration, ask your doctor if Raynaud’s disease is a possible cause. Raynaud’s disease occurs when small arteries that supply blood to the skin narrow, which leads to decreased blood circulation.
- If your doctor suspects Raynaud’s disease, they’ll administer a physical exam and blood screening to make an accurate diagnosis.
- To manage Raynaud’s disease, you should avoid cold temperatures, wear hats and gloves, avoid smoking, and try to minimize emotional stress.
Make a follow up appointment if you’ve had recent dental work.While a local anesthetic following a dental procedure can cause lip numbness for two or three hours, prolonged numbness could indicate a complication. If you experience persistent numbness after a dental implant, filling, wisdom tooth extraction, or other dental procedure, schedule a follow-up visit with your dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible.
- Numbness after an oral procedure could indicate nerve damage or an abscess.
Ask your dentist or oral surgeon to prescribe phentolamine.If you’re about to have a dental procedure, you can ask your dentist or oral surgeon for a medication to counteract the numbness that results after local anesthesia. OraVerse, or phentolamine mesylate, is an injectable medication that increases blood flow to soft tissues and helps to speed up the return of normal sensation.
- Tell your dentist or oral surgeon if you have a history of heart or blood vessel issues. It should not be used in patients with a history of cardiovascular disorders.
Monitor your blood pressure.Tingling in your lips could be a sign of both high and low blood pressure. Have your blood pressure checked regularly, or purchase a machine to check yourself at home. If you already know you have either high or low blood pressure, take your medication as prescribed, and let your doctor know if the problem persists.
Check your cosmetic dyes.Many people report allergies to the red dyes used in cosmetics such as lipsticks. In addition to tingling, such an allergy may cause numbness and break-outs or bumps around the mouth. If you notice these symptoms, talk to your doctor to see if any treatment is necessary.
- While the area around your mouth heals, avoid wearing lipsticks or other cosmetics in the area impacted by the infection.
Seeking Medical Care
Seek emergency care if more serious symptoms accompany numbness.If dizziness, difficulty speaking, confusion, sudden severe headache, weakness, or paralysis accompany numbness, you should get immediate medical attention. You should also seek emergency medical care if numbness occurs suddenly after any form of head injury.
- In serious cases, a CT scan or MRI will be necessary to rule out a severe head injury, stroke, hematoma, tumor, or other life-threatening condition.
Seek emergency care for anaphylaxis.In serious allergic reactions, numbness can precede anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal. Contact emergency services and, if possible, administer an Epipen if these symptoms accompany numbness:
- Swelling of the mouth and throat
- Skin redness or rash
- Nausea and vomiting
- Restricted airway
- Hyperventilating or difficulty breathing
- Collapse or unconsciousness
See your doctor if numbness worsens or persists.Numbness in any part of your body usually goes away on its own. However, it could be related to a number of mild or severe medical conditions, so you shouldn’t ignore a case of persistent numbness. If your lip numbness gradually worsens or doesn’t go away, schedule an appointment with your primary doctor.
- Never stop taking a medication or begin a vitamin supplement regimen without first consulting your doctor.
- If you experience any additional facial numbness, or if the tingling sensation lasts longer than 24 hours, contact your doctor immediately, as this may be an indicator of a larger underlying condition or disease.
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