Atlanta Facial Nerve Pain Misdiagnosis

January 23, 2015

As 2014 closes and we start a new year, I want to write about a common misdiagnosis for those who have suffered a dental nerve injury from malpractice. Bell's Palsy is often the diagnosis given to patients who have suffered an injury to one of the trigeminal nerves in the face due to a negligent dental procedure such as a root canal, dental implant or tooth extraction. Unfortunately, this common diagnosis is often a misdiagnosis and ignores the source of the nerve problem (trauma to the nerve from a negligent dental procedure). The more accurate diagnosis for these patients who, many times, are suffering from numbness and pain at the same time, would be to identify the nerve that is damaged (i.e., inferior alveolar nerve, lingual nerve, or infra-orbital nerve) and diagnose it as an injury.

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Top Root Canal Overfill Risks Which Cause Nerve Injury

January 5, 2015

The risks of toxic materials used during root canal therapy causing permanent dental nerve damage are many. However, some of the most common are: (1) inadequate imaging of the proximity of both borders of the inferior alveolar nerve canal. In fact, a common cause of dental malpractice is to assume that the visualized border of the inferior alveolar nerve canal is the superior (top) border when only one border is visible; (2) inadequate cone measurements, and (3) not limiting filling materials to the confines of the shaped root canal space.

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Dental Implant Inventor Dies

January 4, 2015

The inventor of the modern day dental implant, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark has died. He was a true pioneer in dentistry, even though he was not a dentist. Perhaps the biggest advance that Dr. Branemark contributed was his discovery and development of the concept of "osseointegration." This, in effect, allowed the widespread use of dental implants because osseointegration is the process in which the implant fuses to the jaw.

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Dental Implants and Root Canals Major Cause of Facial Nerve Injuries

November 28, 2014

As the year winds to a close, I have looked back at the new dental malpractice cases during the past year. Once again, the two most common forms of dental negligence which lead to facial nerve injuries are the placement of dental implants and root canal therapy. Most times, the negligently placed implant and the negligent root canal therapy are performed on the lower jaw (i.e., the mandible) and involve injury to the mandibular (or inferior alveolar) nerve.

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The 2 Major Causes of Dental Malpractice

October 31, 2014

As a Plaintiff Georgia Dental Malpractice Lawyer, I am approached by many potential clients who believe that they may be the victim of dental negligence. Even though many of these cases involve serious (and often devastating) injuries, I turn down many more cases than I take. In fact, the vast majority of cases that are presented to us are turned down. The primary reason: although there is a severe injury, there is little indication based on what is told to me, that the injury was caused by malpractice.

Of the instances of malpractice that we do see, all of the malpractice that occurs in Georgia stem from 2 reasons: (1) A dentist does not possess a reasonable degree of education, training and skill to act prudently; or (2) despite reasonable education and training the dentist acts with unreasonable carelessness or fails to act as a reasonable and prudent dentist would under the circumstances.

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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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