Large Jury Verdict for Unnecessary Root Canals

September 16, 2014

Over treatment by dentists is a common occurrence that I see as a dental malpractice lawyer in Georgia. Apparently, a Washington State trial judge saw this to be the case. According to a recent Seattle Times article, a group of 29 former dental patients was awarded over $29M in damages against a dentist who allegedy had repeatedly performed unnecessary root canals.

While the above case is certainly newsworthy and exceptional, most cases of dental malpractice that we see involve root canals, dental implants, or complicated extractions. These procedures sometimes are performed negligently and can lead to serious and permanent nerve injuries that affect the mouth and face.

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Increase in Dental Implants Leads to Nerve Injuries

September 4, 2014

Dental implants have become the procedure of choice to replace extracted teeth. And for good reason. The technology has evolved to the point that dental implants can be safely placed where natural teeth used to be. Unfortunately, the increase in dental implants has resulted in an increase in nerve injuries caused by dental malpractice. There are many facial nerves that can be damaged by negligent dental care and treatment related to dental implants. The most common nerves injured when the dentist fails to take proper precautions include, but are not limited to the inferior alveolar nerve, the lingual nerve, the mental nerve, different branches of the mandibular nerve and the infra-orbital nerve (most commonly associated with the placement of an implant in the maxillary or upper jaw).

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Can a Sleeping Dentist be Negligent

August 28, 2014

According to reports, an Oregon woman is suing her dentist for malpractice, claiming that the dentist's napping lead, at least in part, to her adverse reaction to local anesthetics. While I decline to comment on the merits of that particular case, it should be noted that negative reactions to epinephrine are quite common and can be serious in patients who suffer from other medical conditions.

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Typical Symptoms of Lingual Nerve Damage

May 15, 2014

I receive many calls from potential clients who have been injured during a dental visit. Based on interviewing these new clients, the three nerves that seem to be injured most are the lingual nerve, the inferior alveolar nerve and the infraorbital nerve. When the injury is the the lingual nerve, the client will report an injury history and symptoms somewhat like the following: I suffered the nerve injury after having my wisdom teeth out. My tongue is numb and burns, but only on one side. The oral surgeon says not to worry, but I am very nervous that this numbness and pain is not going to get better-- and this is something that I cannot live with. Even though I have been prescribed pain medication (gabapentin or tegretol), nothing seems to help the constant stabbing pain in my tongue. I have read many stories about others that have suffered from this injury and I just can't believe this is happening to me. Despite my best efforts to keep a positive attitude, I am worried to death that this nerve injury will take over my life, cause me to lose my job or worse. I have been prescribed an antidepressant but I do not know if this will help with the pain and anxiety that I am suffering caused by my lingual nerve injury.

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9 Specialties In Dentistry

February 25, 2014

As an Atlanta lawyer who litigates many dental malpractice cases, I receive calls from many potential clients who have been seriously injured in the dental chair. Many times, the potential client was treated by a general dentist when the procedure required the skill and training of a specialist. There are 9 specialties in dentistry. In medicine, these areas of specialization are referred to as sub-specialties, however they are know as specialties in the area of dentistry. The areas are: Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics and Prosthodontics.

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1 out of 10 Dental Nerve Injuries Caused by Implants

February 6, 2014

According to a recent article out of England, one out of 10 dental nerve injuries are caused by implants that damage the inferior alveolar nerve which runs under the teeth in the jaw. As an Atlanta attorney who handles dental malpractice cases on a regular basis, this confirms what I have observed over the last few years: dental implants, root canals, local anesthetic nerve block injections and extraction of mandibular wisdom teeth are the leading causes of dental nerve injuries that I encounter as a lawyer.

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Types of Dental Malpractice Experts in Georgia

December 23, 2013

In order to pursue a dental malpractice lawsuit in Georgia, the injured Plaintiff must attach an affidavit to the complaint from a dental expert stating at least one act of malpractice which caused or substantially contributed to the injuries complained of in the lawsuit. The choice of which dental area specialty the expert will possess is usually dictated by the specialty and or treatment involved in the case.

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Proper Pre-Treatment X-Rays Can Avoid Dental Nerve Injuries

December 19, 2013

As an Atlanta Dental Malpractice Lawyer, I see many pre-treatment x-rays that are below the standard of care because the films do not sufficiently visualize the root apices (root tips). In many cases, this leads to an extraction or root canal which results in a permanent nerve injury to the client's inferior alveolar nerve. If proper x-rays are taken by the treating dentist's staff, the dentist would be able to see the apices, surrounding bone, and the proximity of the roots to the inferior alveolar nerve.

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Success of Lingual Nerve Injury Repair

November 26, 2013

A large part of my Atlanta personal injury law practice is devoted to dental nerve injuries. Unfortunately, many clients who have been injured after going to the dentist find themselves with little hope of recovery. As indicated by this article by well-regarded micro-neurosurgeon, Shahrokh Bagheri, whether surgery can provide relief depends largely upon the age of the patient and the length of time between the injury and the attempted corrective surgery. In other words, if you are young, and your lingual nerve was injured less than 9 months ago, you are a good candidate for microsurgical repair.

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Increased Incidence of Dental Nerve Injuries

September 18, 2013

As the year progresses, I am seeing a marked increase in the number of calls from injured dental patients. The vast majority of these injuries seems to be dental nerve injuries following dental procedures such as tooth extractions, root canal therapy and dental implants.

Not every dental nerve injury is due to malpractice. However, if you have suffered a permanent dental nerve injury and you suspect it may be the result of dental malpractice, please contact us for a case evaluation.

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Root Canal Nerve Injury

September 17, 2013

Endodontic Treatment ("root canal therapy" or "RCT") of mandibular molar teeth has the potential to result in damage to the inferior alveolar nerve due to direct trauma, pressure or neurotoxicity. As an Atlanta dental malpractice attorney, I find that many of these dental nerve injuries are caused by dental malpractice, with the biggest number of dental nerve injuries being caused by root canal overfills or over-instrumentation. Extending the root canal files past the root tip apex and into the lower jaw (mandible) causes damage to the inferior alveolar nerve and extending the root canal files past the root tip apex in the upper jaw (maxillary) can cause nerve damage in the upper face to nerves such as the infra-orbital nerve. Many times, patients who have suffered injuries due to this deviation from the dental standard of care are diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia. However, this is not a precise diagnosis and a second opinion with a micro-neurosurgeon who specializes in oral surgical procedures may prove helpful.

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Nerve Damage Caused by Over-filled Root Canals

August 26, 2013

As a 2007 study indicates, overfilling the roots with sealant can cause permanent nerve damage if not treated promptly. As the article concludes, "early surgical exploration and debridement may reverse the effects of endodontic treatment that is below the standard of care and results in gutta percha being deposited into the inferior alveolar nerve canal.

Since this is a complication that should not happen absent malpractice, if you are suffering from this nerve injury after Root Canal Therapy ("RCT" or a root canal), you should consult with an experienced dental malpractice attorney.

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