Dental implants are becoming more common in Georgia. Along with the increased use of implants comes a not so welcomed increase in the number of dental nerve injuries caused by implants being installed improperly by general dentists.
Sensory alteration resulting from the injury results in serious injuries that can be life altering. In some cases, the injuries become much more serious due to the general dentist (who quite possibly negligently installed the implants and caused the nerve injury) is not trained or otherwise qualified to diagnose and treat the nerve injury. Once this is the case, what was otherwise a potentially temporary injury can morph into a permanent and debilitating injury that can affect almost every life function of the injured dental patient.
Effective management of potentially serious nerve injuries caused by implants is based on providing a timely diagnosis and then treatment such as steroids or anti-inflammatories or corrective surgical intervention as soon as possible after diagnosis of the nerve injury, for best results in properly treating the nerve injury. In other words, the general dentist should timely refer the injured dental implant patient to a nerve specialist. The nerve specialist, in turn, can provide an early diagnosis and recommend the correct course of action for successful treatment. As these injuries become more prevalent, it is more and more apparent that nerve injuries are more likely to be persistent or even permanent when there is an increased period of time between injury and a diagnosis by a competent dental nerve specialist of the patient. If the diagnosis is delayed, there can be irreversible damage to the patient. Unfortunately, as a dental malpractice lawyer who specializes in dental implant injuries, I often see clients who sustained a dental nerve injury, report the symptoms of this injury to the dentist who installed the dental implants, and then these clients are not referred out to a nerve specialist. Rather, they are told that the injury is “normal” and that it will heal on its own over time. Many times, this advice is harmful to the patient and, in some but not all cases, negligent.
This type of delay makes no sense as it only hurts the injured patient’s chances of recovery and often results in late diagnosis. This, in turn, results in the development of tunnel syndrome caused by an increased pressure on dental nerves, which leads to impaired blood circulation in and around the nerve canal or jaw and is often followed by a breakdown of the tissue in and around the nerve. For example, a relatively minor inferior alveolar nerve injury, if left undiagnosed and untreated often develops due to hematoma. Later, swelling will develop, and the injury will worsen. This is due to the fact that the inferior alveolar nerve runs within the limits of the mandibular canal which is small (about the width of a piece of spaghetti) and rigid. Thus, if swelling rapidly develops, subsequent nerve compression is expected and can result in numbness and pain that, in many cases is permanent and life altering.
Robert J. Fleming has been handling dental malpractice including dental nerve injuries from negligently installed dental implants for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of negligence for over 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 such as Alpharetta, 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 to discuss your case in complete confidence, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.