Dental Nerve Injuries
If you have undergone a dental treatment that has left you with nerve damage, you may be experiencing a range of debilitating and potentially painful problems. This is clearly a sign that something during your dental procedure did not go to plan. It could be that your dentist did not take the necessary precautions during your procedure, or that they used equipment that was not suitable for the work that you were having done. Perhaps it wasn’t planned correctly, or they made a mistake during your treatment.
Whatever the cause of the problem that has caused your dental nerve injury, you may be entitled to claim compensation for the physical, emotional and financial damages that you have sustained. Our team of dental malpractice lawyers can assess your case for you and help you to establish whether you have grounds to sue your dentist for negligence. If so, we can pursue the claim on your behalf, enabling you to concentrate on managing or recovering from your injuries.
How do dental nerve injuries occur?
Our bodies are packed with nerves and our mouth and jaw are no exception. When your dentist undertakes an invasive dental procedure, chances are that the treatment will come in very close proximity to at least some of the nerves that extend throughout this area. Unfortunately, if your treatment is not carried out with complete accuracy and precision, there is a chance that your dentist could accidentally damage these nerves.
Dental nerve injuries are more common during some dental procedures than others. These include:
Root canal treatment
Root canal is a highly invasive dental treatment that is used to eliminate bacteria from the very root of a tooth, potentially saving it from extraction. It involves your dentist drilling right down into the tooth to irrigate it, and sometimes the sodium hypochlorite used to clean the canal is accidentally injected into the surrounding tissue, potentially causing nerve damage.
Dental implant placement
Nerve injury can occur in several ways during dental implant placement. To put the implants in place, your dentist needs to drill down into the jaw bone. However, if they drill down too far or aren’t completely accurate with the placement of the implant post, they could inadvertently damage nerves in your mouth or jaw. Similarly, if the implant used is the wrong size, it could place pressure on surrounding nerves.
Nerve injuries often occur during a dental extraction, particularly one that involves a wisdom tooth. This is because there are a great number of nerves around the root of each tooth and your dentist must be very careful not to disturb these when performing an extraction. Often, a good dentist will take radiographs before the extraction to help them avoid contact with large areas of nerves.
The effects of a nerve-injury
Every patient and injury are different and so it is often not possible to say exactly what the short and long-term effects of a nerve injury might be. Sometimes they can be a temporary problem and will resolve themselves with a little time and patience. However, other nerve injuries can be permanent and have ongoing consequences for you.
Often, the effects of a nerve injury will depend on which nerves have been affected and the severity of the damage to them. The most commonly affected nerve is the inferior alveolar nerve, which runs in a bony canal below the bottom teeth and is responsible for sensations in the lower teeth, chin, gums and lower lip. Injury most often occurs during procedures involving the lower jaw. Pain, changes in sensation, numbness and even problems using your jaw can occur if this nerve becomes damaged during dental treatment.
The other key nerve often damaged by negligent dentists is the lingual nerve, which runs across the tongue and can be injured during many different dental treatments. If it is damaged, you may experience changes in or loss of sensation in the tongue, discomfort and loss of taste.
If you have suffered a dental nerve injury as a result of the negligence of your dentist, our team would be happy to assess your claim on a no-obligation basis. Please contact our offices today to schedule your confidential appointment.