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Lingual Nerve Injuries

Many Atlanta dental malpractice cases result in lingual nerve injuries. It is important to understand the relationship of the lingual nerve to the regions of the third molars (wisdom teeth) on both sides of the jaw.

Over 85% of dental patients have lingual nerves which run a regular course. In other words, over 85% of the patients’ lingual nerves runs in the exact location that the dentist expects it to be and this is usual and normal.

According to most studies, the horizontal distance, or the distance from the lingual nerve to the third molar (wisdom tooth) socket, on average, is 4.4 mm. The vertical distance, or the distance from the lingual nerve to the lingual horizontal rim, on average, is almost 17mm.

Unless proper surgical technique is utilized, the lingual nerve can be damaged during extraction of third molars (wisdom teeth). Many times, extractions are attempted by general dentists who are not specialists in oral and maxillofacial surgery, which needlessly exposes the lingual nerve to injury. This is so because the distance between the third molars and the lingual nerve does not provide safety to an unskilled dentist who makes large incisions and detaches large swaths of the nearby tissue and bone. Because of this potential for improper technique, general dentists risk violating the lingual plate, injuring the lingual nerve and causing the patient damage in the form of a lingual nerve injury during wisdom tooth extractions.

Many times, exposing the lingual nerve to injury is due to dental malpractice. This happens when the dental instrument perforates the lingual plate and enters the area where the lingual nerve is. While this is true, each case is fact-specific and usually requires that the records be reviewed by an expert, usually an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, who can review the dental records, including the x-rays and any other radiographic tests performed, along with the records of the subsequent treating doctors to determine if there was malpractice and if the malpractice caused the injuries. There are simply too many factors that impact each case to discuss in this forum, and that is why expert reviews are necessary in cases like this. That is why we take great are and locating the best experts in the field for dental malpractice cases. Each case is important, and deserves the attention of a competent expert who can determine if the case has merit to pursue.

Robert J. Fleming has been handling dental malpractice, bus accidents, car accident cases and premises injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years. He practices in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area including handling lawsuits in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb and other counties and nearby cities including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured and would like discuss your case in complete confidence, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.