Both lingual nerve injury and inferior alveolar nerve injury can occur during oral surgery procedures. Both of these injuries can result in permanent or temporary loss of sensation in the mouth. In some cases, the lingual nerve may be injured, while in others, the inferior alveolar nerve may be injured. In some cases, both may be injured. While both conditions can be painful, inferior alveolar injuries tend to be more common than lingual nerve injuries. These injuries also tend to be tolerated better than lingual nerve injuries. The reasons for this are not clear, but some hypothesize that it has something to do with the structural differences between these two nerves.
Tooth extraction is one of the main causes of lingual nerve injury and inferior alveolar injury. Typically, these injuries occur during extraction of the wisdom teeth. Both lingual nerve injury and inferior alveolar injury can also occur during injections of local anesthetic administered during the dental procedure. A lingual nerve injury may end in pain to the mucosa on the side of the teeth close to the tongue. The pain is usually a burning kind of pain, or a dull throbbing pain. There may also be some numbness.
If you have suffered a nerve injury during a dental procedure, you should immediately consult a dental surgeon. As an Atlanta dental malpractice attorney, I’ve noticed that it can take time for a patient to realize that he has indeed suffered a nerve injury after the anesthesia wears off. Once you have been able to determine that you have indeed suffered an injury, it’s important to consult with a surgeon. Timely care and treatment is critical to the proper treatment of a dental nerve injury. Once you become aware that you may have such an injury, you must report the signs and symptoms that you are experiencing to a trained dental professional who is qualified to diagnose and treat nerve injuries (not all dentists are).
An oral surgeon may be able to help with most cases involving lingual nerve injury and inferior alveolar injury. However, whether surgery is beneficial to the patient and the recovery chances after surgery will depend on the age of the patient and other factors. For instance, surgeries that are conducted within 10 to 12 weeks after the patient learns about the nerve injury may lead to the patient regaining about 75% of the normal sensation. This happens in about 70% of the cases. The longer you delay surgery, the lower the likelihood of success. In fact, surgeries are rarely recommended after nine months following the injury. However, every case is different and it is always a good idea to consult with a nerve specialist so that you can explore every option. Oral surgeons who perform dental nerve repairs are always faced with a difficult decisions, i.e., when to operate. They oral surgeon does not want to operate too soon as this may involve a surgery on a nerve that may have healed on its own if given more, yet they also do not want to wait too long to operate as they may miss the window of opportunity in which the surgical repair will be successful.
Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, 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 and would like discuss your case, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.