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.