Dental Nerve Injuries

Atlanta Dental Nerve Injury Attorney

There is no such thing as a minor dental nerve injury. Dental nerve injuries are always an upsetting event for those unfortunate enough to experience them. More often than not, these injuries are debilitating and permanent. There are a number of nerves that can be damaged during dental procedures, but the inferior alveolar nerve (“IAN”) and the lingual nerve (“LN”) are the two nerves most frequently injured.

Inferior Alveolar Nerve Injury

Symptoms commonly experienced after the inferior alveolar nerve has been injured include:

  • Numbness or pain in the chin, lips, and gums;
  • A tingling or electrical shock sensation in the chin, lips, and gums;
  • A burning pain in the chin, lips, and gums;
  • Drooling;
  • Impaired speech.

Inferior Alveolar nerve injuries are frequently caused during:

  • The removal of wisdom teeth;
  • The placement of dental implants;
  • Overfilling or over-instrumentation of a tooth during Root Canal Treatment.

Root Canal Overfill or Over-instrumentation

When filling materials are overextended they can enter the underlying main sensory nerve in the lower part of the jaw or enter into the sinus in the upper jaw and burn the delicate nerve tissue. A constant lack of sensation and/or pain and discomfort in the chin and lip is indicative of overfill of the lower posterior (back) teeth.

Dental Implants

If dental implants in the lower jaw are drilled too deeply, they can penetrate the underlying inferior alveolar nerve and cause permanent pain and/or numbness of the chin, lip and gums of the lower jaw. Your dentist should be consulted immediately if sharp pain and/or numbness continues 8 hours after implant placement surgery has been performed. There is a short window in which these nerve injuries must be treated and the failure to do can result in permanent nerve damage.

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a disorder of the trigeminal nerve that causes extreme pain in the eyes, forehead, jaws, lips, nose, and/or scalp. Many dental malpractice victims are diagnosed with this condition when they have suffered a traumatic dental nerve injury which is hard to pinpoint.

Symptoms:

Trigeminal neuralgia is among the most painful conditions. Touching or even gentle air currents can set off terrible occurrences of severe pain and discomfort. In some cases, the sufferer feels persistent pain that is similar to a migraine on top of a stabbing pain. Therefore, it disrupts one’s way of life since it can be set off by routine activities performed in one’s day-to-day life. Though not lethal, episodes of trigeminal neuralgia and the fear of triggering an attack can be debilitating to sufferers.

Trigeminal Neuropathic Pain

Trigeminal neuropathic pain is a condition that occurs when one or more branches of the trigeminal nerve are injured. It results from nerve injury following dental procedures and other facial injuries. The pain is usually constant and commonly accompanied by a burning or crawling sensation. A loss of feeling on the face or forehead has also been documented among sufferers.

Cause:

Trigeminal neuralgia frequently occurs during root canal procedures resulting in an over extension of a file or overfill beyond the apex of the root.

Treatment:

Micro vascular decompression, radio-frequency rhizotomy, glycerol rhitzotomy, balloon rhitzotomy, and sterotactic radio-surgery and medication are used in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. The aforementioned treatments are also used to treat atypical trigeminal neuralgia, but with a lower success rate. Anti-seizure medications, like Lyrica, Neurontin, Tegretol, and Trileptal are also used to treat the painful symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia. Surgery to reduce the pressure on the nerve or to interrupt pain signals that are sent to the brain might also be considered.

Lingual Nerve Injury

Lingual nerve injuries are generally caused during extractions of wisdom teeth. Symptoms usually experienced after an injury to the lingual nerve include the following:

  • Numbing of the tongue;
  • Loss of taste;
  • altered taste;
  • A tingling sensation in the tongue;
  • Impaired speech;
  • Pain or burning sensation in the tongue;
  • Drooling.

Gum Disease

Gum disease can be prevented through standard dental care. However, untreated or improperly treated periodontal disease typically causes tooth loss and/or gum abscesses. Injury is often caused when a dentist fails to correctly treat the patient’s gums over an extended period of time.

Dental Restorations

Over contour

Crowns are supposed to replicate the natural tooth that is being restored. But if the crown is larger than the natural tooth bacteria can get trapped and lead to decay or gum disease.

Bleeding gums or a darkening of the gum margin around the crown is indicative of over contouring. Before darkening, the crown margin at the gum line may also redden and bleed.

Open Margin

A frequent cause of dental malpractice is the cementing of a crown or veneer without sealing the margins. Eventually, decay and/or gum disease is caused due to leaks and trapped plaque.

Shy Margin of Preparation

Shy margins can cause tooth sensitivity and decay when the dentin surface is left exposed. This is caused when a crown or veneer does not fully conceal the prepared tooth surface.

Orthodontic Treatment

Most damage caused during orthodontic treatment can be avoided. However, root resorption can lead to tooth loss.

Root resorption is the breakdown or destruction of the root structure of a tooth. With adult teeth, root resorption is caused when too much pressure is put on the root surface during orthodontic treatment. Acute root resorption is hard to treat and frequently results in loss of teeth.

Call Robert J. Fleming directly at (404) 525-5150 or call (800) 613-1923 if you have suffered a permanent nerve injury from dental malpractice and would like to discuss you case in confidence.

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