Cases of medical malpractice can originate from any medical office, including your dentist. What may
begin as a routine cleaning or check-up could easily become a disaster
if your dentist makes even a minor mistake. Nerve damage is one of the
most common injuries made by dentists, and it can be extremely painful
and damaging. Whether or not you’ve suffered a dental injury, arm
yourself against dental malpractice and discover common types of dental
nerve damage, how they’re caused, and what you can do.
Common Causes of Dental Malpractice
Typically, if your general practitioner dentist causes nerve damage, it
means they were performing work for which the patient should have been
referred to a specialist. Oral surgeons specialize in more invasive dental
procedures that general dentists can’t perform and, if a general
practitioner gets in over their head, they could cause severe damage to
A few procedures that could result in nerve damage include:
- Molar extraction
- Wisdom tooth removal
- Root canal
- Dental implant
- Dental bridge installation
The two most commonly injured nerves are the lingual nerve and the inferior
alveolar nerve, though the mental nerve may also suffer damage.
Lingual Nerve Damage
The lingual nerve is usually injured in wisdom teeth removal and can cause
tongue numbness, loss of taste, altered taste, impaired speech, or a painful
burning sensation in the tongue.
Inferior Alveolar Nerve Damage
Damage to the inferior alveolar nerve may also be caused by wisdom teeth
extraction, or could be the result of poorly placed dental implants or
the overfilling or overworking of a tooth during a root canal surgery.
Inferior alveolar nerve damage could cause numbness or pain in the chin,
lips, and gums, as well as a tingling sensation or a burning ache.
Mental Nerve Damage
If the mental nerve is damaged, it could cause sensory paralysis in the
lower lip, or extreme pain. If any nerve is completely severed or badly
damaged, the harm could be permanent. An injured patient may be left without
the ability to move his or her tongue properly, resulting in a lisp and
altered speech. It could also change the person’s ability to taste
food, sometimes robbing them of the ability to taste altogether.
Signs of Nerve Damage
These injuries may be caused by simple error, perhaps the dentist slipped
and made a vital mistake. It could be carelessness, lack of sufficient
schooling, or any number of other reasons. If a patient suffers a nerve
injury, he or she may experience symptoms immediately, or quickly thereafter.
Sometimes numbing agents can delay feeling, but the patient may feel strange
sensations in the area, if not outright pain. Tingling, burning, or numbing
sensations are red flags, as is a loss of taste.
Dental malpractice claims should not be treated lightly, so if you were
injured, find out what your legal options are.
Contact a Long Island dental malpractice lawyer at our office for a free consultation today!