This is the question many potential clients call to ask. And it’s a reasonable inquiry, to say the least. Whether one can sue for dental malpractice related to the placement of a dental implant depends on a number of factors including but not limited to: Whether the pre-implant planning process was properly followed; whether an implant surgical guide was used; whether the pre-implant planning measurements were followed in placing the implants; and whether the skills and technical proficiency of the dentist placing the implants meet the standard of care.
Of course, whether one can sue for dental malpractice related to the placement of dental implants will depend on the answers to the above questions. But, the result of the negligence must be a substantial injury from the dental implant placement. In other words, it is not enough that the dental implant procedure did not go well (or you are not happy with the procedure for one reason or another), in order for there to be the basis for a lawsuit, you must have suffered an injury from the dental procedure.
We have seen a proliferation of injuries to the facial nerves after the negligent placement of dental implants. Most of these are from implants placed in the lower jaw (or mandible) which are placed too deep into the jaw and affect the inferior alveolar nerve or the mental nerve, if the implant is placed closer to the front of the mouth. However, there are instances of nerve injuries after the negligent placement of dental implants in the maxillary (upper jaw) although these are much rarer and do not have a classical presentation. From the cases that I have evaluated, the trigeminal nerve most often injured by improperly placed maxillary dental implants is the infra-orbital nerve. This nerve runs out of the foramen (small opening in the skull) just below the eye and runs a course which stays well above the upper teeth. Of course, the improper placement of the dental implant must result in damages in order to support a dental malpractice lawsuit, which in many cases of dental negligence, are substantial. Whether the injury is to the nerves in the lower jaw (much more common) or upper jaw, timely action is needed in order to properly evaluate the cause of the injury and whether a malpractice lawsuit is justified.