Atlanta Injury Lawyers Blog
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A number of dental procedures result in the majority of dental malpractice claims in Georgia. As an Atlanta Dental Malpractice Attorney, I have noticed recently that the top five procedures that lead to dental injuries and malpractice claims are: Root Canals, Dental Implants, Crowns, Lower Molar Extractions and Jaw Surgery.

Each of these procedures is complicated. If you have suffered a dental injury from one of these procedure and would like to discuss your case in complete confidence, call Robert J. Fleming on (404) 923-7497 or contact us online. We are here to help.

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The alleged improper surgical technique of the defendant dentist was at the center of a recent $875,000 dental malpractice settlement in Atlanta. The plaintiff, a woman in her late 20’s, went to the dentist for the removal of her lower left wisdom tooth. During the extraction, the defendant dentist severed the plaintiff’s nerve. The plaintiff was then referred to an oral surgeon. After numerous surgical attempts to repair the nerve, it was determined by the oral surgeon’s office that the nerve was not reparable and the nerve injury was therefore permanent.
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Many times, potential clients who have suffered a dental nerve injury are not sure which type of doctor is best equipped to diagnose an injury to the inferior alveolar, lingual or mental nerves. While many specialists are trained to diagnose and treat pain and nerve damage, a microneurosurgeon is, many times, the best equipped for these types of injuries. Trigeminal nerve injury diagnosis, treatment and management is considered a subspecialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery. As such, microneurosurgeons possess additional training, experience and clinical skills to treat these nerves after damage caused by dental treatments.
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As a recent dental article notes, antibiotics are frequently used in dental practice. To be sure, this is a broad statement and, as we all know, the devil is in the details. While the standard of care in dentistry certainly does not require the administration of antibiotics before and after every dental procedure, it does require this for certain patients who suffer from certain conditions who are undergoing certain procedures. In other words, whether it is dental malpractice to not prescribe antibiotics when a dental procedure is performed is very fact-specific and is decided on a case-by-case basis.
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Many victims of dental malpractice properly request their records and encounter a host of dental terms and abbreviations that make it hard to decipher what the records mean. Some common dental abbreviations used in conjunction with dental procedures which may lead to nerve and other dental injuries are: ALV = alveolar; AMO = Anterior Maxillary Osteotomy; APEO = apicoectomy; B = buccal; BL = bone loss; dg or dx = diagnosis; E or EX or EXT = extraction; ENDO = endodontics; FDS = flap debridement surgery; fom = floor of mouth; FX = fracture; H&P = history and physical; L = lingual; MFP = myofacial pain; P-XR or pano = panoramic x-ray; pax = periapical x-ray; peri = periapical; POT = post-operative treatment; SL = sublingual; and WL = working length.
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Dental procedures in the area of the lingual and inferior alveolar nerves are the most common cause of nerve damage. Negligently placed dental implants and improperly performed root canals in the lower jaw can cause inferior alveolar nerve damage. Other negligent procedures such as wisdom tooth extractions can cause lingual nerve damage. If your dentist has identified nerve damage during or shortly after the procedure, a referral to a qualified nerve specialist should be made as soon as possible. Delay can often result in permanent nerve damage. Surgical repairs, when done within the window of time when they have the greatest chance of success, can often reduce numbness and pain, and bring back normal sensation to the affected areas. That is why it is important to refer out to a qualified oral surgeon or microneurosurgeon in a timely manner.
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A recent dental malpractice verdict of over $2.3M was upheld on appeal. The malpractice victim suffered a lingual nerve injury during a tooth extraction which manifested itself with numbness of her tongue coupled with severe pain. This resulted in difficulty in swallowing, speaking and drooling.

Despite undergoing corrective surgery on her lingual nerve, the plaintiff’s symptoms did not resolve and she suffered a permanent nerve injury, and, as is often the case, her pain symptoms intensified after the attempt to repair the nerve.
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A jury has awarded $2.5M to an autistic boy’s family. The lengthy trial included evidence of Janssen Pharmaceutical’s alleged plan to obscure evidence for years that the drug was linked to the growth of female breast tissue in adolescent boys.The jury based its decision, at least in part, in its finding that the drug company failed to warn the boy’s parents and physicians of the risks associated with the drug.

This is a key verdict that will play a vital role in the valuation of the thousands of Risperdal cases that have been filed in recent years. Of couse, each case is different based on the facts, but this is an important benchmark for valuation.
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The United States Supreme Court recently decided a case that could impact the way the Georgia Board of Dentistry conducts business. The Court ruled on February 25, 2015 that a state regulatory board comprised mainly of dental professionals violates federal fair competition laws when it tries to restrict lower cost (non-dentist) competitors from competing with dentists by offering teeth-whitening.

While this case had little to do with Georgia’s Board of Dentistry, it does apply to it and, as the dissenting opinion noted, the decision could have far-reaching affects on what and how dental boards are allowed to regulate.
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The recent children’s drug settlement exemplifies the risk associated with giving any medications to children. As an Atlanta medication error attorney, I am frequently contacted by parents who have filled prescriptions for their children at local pharmacies, only to realize after giving the medication to their kids that they were either dispensed the wrong medication or given the correct medication but in the wrong dosage.

Many pharmacy errors which result in hospitalization are caused by lack of technician training, lack of sufficient quality control that ensures that the prescription that is dispensed is actually what was ordered by the doctor and a simple lack of attentiveness on the part of the pharmacy team involved in filling the prescription. Unfortunately, parents are seldom in a position to catch the pharmacy error and the result can often lead to serious injury to the child and hospitalization.
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