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.

Continue reading "9 Specialties In Dentistry" »

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.

Continue reading "1 out of 10 Dental Nerve Injuries Caused by Implants" »

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.

Continue reading "Types of Dental Malpractice Experts in Georgia" »

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.

Continue reading "Proper Pre-Treatment X-Rays Can Avoid Dental Nerve Injuries" »

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.

Continue reading "Success of Lingual Nerve Injury Repair" »

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.

Continue reading "Increased Incidence of Dental Nerve Injuries" »

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.

Continue reading "Root Canal Nerve Injury" »

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.

Continue reading "Nerve Damage Caused by Over-filled Root Canals" »

Rate of Georgia Dental Nerve Injuries Tracks Increase in Implants

July 15, 2013

According to some sources, between 3 and 5 million dental implants are installed each year in the United States. As an Atlanta Dental Malpractice Attorney, I have noticed that the number of injuries to the facial nerves has increased due to the increase in the number of implants being installed.

In layman's terms, implants are installed by extracting the bad tooth, drilling a pilot hole, installing a post in the pilot hole, allowing the tissue and bone of the jaw to grow around and solidify onto the post (this is known as osseointegration), placing an abutment over the top of the post, and then placing a crown over the abutment.

In many cases, dental malpractice causes injury to the nerves that run along the alveolar ridge (the most common being the inferior alveolar nerve and the lingual nerve). Most of these injuries are caused by the dentist not properly calculating the distance to the nerve from the post. In other words, many of these injures occur because the pilot hole for the post is drilled too deep and into the nerve or the implant is screwed too deeply into the jaw which results in the nerve being crushed.

Extreme care should be used by anyone contemplating a dental implant procedure. One should make sure the dentist performing the implant is experienced and skilled -- and that the equipment that the dentist is relying on to properly evaluate the distance to the nerve is state-of-the-art, properly calibrated and accurate.

Continue reading "Rate of Georgia Dental Nerve Injuries Tracks Increase in Implants" »

Dental Implants Are Riskier Than Advertised

June 18, 2013

According to a recent article, dental implants are riskier than many are lead to believe. As an Atlanta lawyer who specializes in dental malpractice, I have seen a wave of dental malpractice claims related to the improper placement of dental implants. To be sure, the technological advancements regarding implantology are stunning, but the implant is only as good as the dentist who installs it.

Continue reading "Dental Implants Are Riskier Than Advertised" »

Atlanta Dog Attacks On The Rise

May 16, 2013

As the recent article in the AJC points out, Georgia is the 9th ranked state for one of the largest payouts of the leading insurance company in the nation.

We have noticed an increase in the number of deadly dog attacks on children in the Atlanta area. Many of these attacks involve pit bulls and negligent supervision.

Continue reading "Atlanta Dog Attacks On The Rise" »

Top Dental Implant Complications Due to Malpractice

May 9, 2013

Dental Implants are an effective treatment for missing teeth. Unfortunately, with the rise of dental implant procedures, there has been a rise in dental malpractice claims caused by these implants procedures. The following are the most common types of malpractice-related injuries:

(1) Tissue or nerve injury-- Dental implants are an invasive procedure. When the implants are screwed into place, common problems include abnormal swelling of the tissue surrounding the implant. If proper care is not taken by the dentist, this tissue can become infected and lead to other complications. Another problem caused by dental implant malpractice is nerve damage. Nerve damage occurs when the implant is placed too close to the nerve, or in extreme cases of malpractice, when the implant is screwed through the nerve canal and into the nerve itself. If this happens, the implant must be "backed out" as soon as possible, but in most cases, if the implant is in the nerve, the resulting nerve damage is irreparable.

(2) Sinus Complications -- these occur when the patient receives a maxillary implant (to replace an upper tooth) and the implant "communicates" with the sinus and causes infections and other unpleasant side effects. In many cases, this happens because the dentist failed to do a pre-implant sinus lift which can alleviate these possible sinus problems.

(3) Implant Integration Failure -- occurs when there is incompatibility between the implant and the receptive bone. This often occurs if there is not sufficient bone (and/or bone density) to support an implant. It is below the standard of care to install an implant under these conditions because it is almost certain to fail.