Dental Implant Injuries
Injuries from dental implants can be one of the most serious of all dental injuries and can significantly alter one’s quality of life. Dental implants are often placed in the jaw in close proximity to a number of nerves and other anatomical structures that can be injured by the implant. These types of injuries are often caused by trauma from the implant or for another reason that affects the nerves or structures.
Common Causes of Dental Implant Injuries
The most common cause of dental implant injuries in Georgia is dental malpractice. However, a dental implant injury can result from a number of different situations. Dental implant injuries often occur in the mandible (lower jaw) after a dental implant is placed by a dentist. The placement of dental implants in this location often leads to a dental nerve injury due to the location of the inferior alveolar nerve, which runs just below the apices of the lower teeth, especially the lower molars. In the area of the lower jaw in front of the back molars, the mental nerve (which is often described as an extension of the inferior alveolar nerve) is exposed and can be damaged by dental implants, if the proper planning and placement of the implant is not performed.
Should one of the dental nerves in the mouth or jaw be damaged by a dental implant, a number of symptoms such as the following can occur:
- Numbness in the lip, chin, or gums;
- Numbness in the face;
- Numbness on the side of the tongue that corresponds to the nerve injury in the case of a lingual nerve injury;
- Sharp, stabbing electrical pain in the jaw and face;
- tingling and numbness sensations in the jaw and face area;
- difficulty talking, eating or smiling as normal;
- altered taste sensation;
- pain that radiates from the jaw area up to the ear;
Doctors diagnose dental implant injuries by utilizing a number of techniques including a physical examination to determine the areas and extent of numbness, cone beam CT scans, and x-rays. Sometimes an exact diagnosis is not possible until surgical intervention is conducted.
Dental implant injuries can be treated with.
- pharmacological management (pain medications);
- removing the implant; and/or
- surgical repair of the nerve damaged by the implant.
Anti-inflammatory and oral steroid medications may also be used in combination with these methods to ease pain and lessen inflammation.
As noted above, if symptoms are severe or if the nerve fails to repair itself over time, microneurosurgery to repair the injured nerves may be performed. During this procedure, the surgeon removes the implant (if it has not already been removed and if it is impinging on the nerve) and any neuromas or scar tissue are removed. This procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia in a hospital setting.
If you recently had a dental implant installed and are suffering from an injury from the dental implant, you may have a legal case for recovery. In most cases, you must file a lawsuit in Georgia within two years of the date of injury (although exceptions to this rule may apply). If you are suffering and have legal questions about your case, please call us today. You can reach Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or call us nationwide on (800) 613-1923 for a free case evaluation.