Many dental procedures can be painful, and your dentist will use an anesthetic to numb the pain. Unfortunately, dental anesthetics may come with side effects that patients are not always aware of.
One the most common side effects of dental anesthesia is the development of hematomas. A dental anesthetic is administered by an injection, and if the needle pricks a blood vessel, then blood can begin to collect below the gum tissue. The result can be a painful swelling. This swelling can cause compression of nerves and other anatomical structures in the mouth and face. Sometimes this can lead to paresthesia, numbness, pain or a combination of all of these signs and symptoms of a dental injury. While this can often lead to these signs and symptoms, not every injury sustained is the result of dental negligence of dental malpractice. To determine whether malpractice played a role in your injury requires a complete review of all records (which typically include the office notes, x-rays, MRI’s, cat scans, and any other tests performed). Once these records are gathered, and expert in the field or specialty as that of the treating dentist will be in a position to review all of the records, the facts of your case and make a determination of whether, in his or her opinion, there was dental malpractice and whether the malpractice caused your injuries.
It’s also not entirely unheard of for ingredients in your dental aesthetic to be absorbed into your bloodstream and travel through your body. These compounds can be toxic, and can affect the central nervous system. When this happens, there may be a number of alarming side effects. The person may feel excitable or irritable, and there may be acceleration of the heartbeat. A person may have excessive sweating and hot and cold flashes. More serious side effects of this toxicity can include blurred or double vision, confusion, disorientation, seizures or convulsions.
Nitrous oxide or laughing gas is used very often in sedation dentistry, particularly if the person needs to be very calm and relaxed before a dental procedure. However, a number of things can go wrong when nitrous oxide is administered. If too much nitrous oxide is administered, it can cause hypoxia which can result in dizziness. Among other things, nitrous oxide interferes with your body’s ability to absorb vitamin B-12. This can cause you to become anemic and your white blood cell count to drop.
Your dentist is required to evaluate your general health and medical condition, before deciding on an anesthetic for you. Failure to do so can expose you to possibly serious health risks and complications. One such situation that should be taken into consideration is whether elderly or sick patients who have heart conditions should be given a local anesthetic which contains epinephrine. Due to their compromised medical condition, these patients may not be able to receive epinephrine.
Robert J. Fleming is an Atlanta dental malpractice lawyer, representing victims of dental malpractice in Georgia. If you would like to discuss you case, please contact Mr. Fleming directly on (404) 923-7497 or contact us online.