Home > Legal Guide

Medical Malpractice and Wisdom Teeth Extraction – 5 Signs You Have Been a Victim

Probably one of the most-dreadful days in a person's life is the notorious, "Wisdom teeth extraction day." Everyone I have encountered who discusses their medical history always remembers the dreadful day they got their wisdom teeth pulled.

Post extraction days will most likely be the worst couple days of pain the average person ever has to experience, and for that reason, people are always skeptical about the procedure involved. Personally, I was not put under anesthesia and felt every single tooth pulled out with eyes wide open – there were four total teeth, and it was one of the only days I ever cried in my life. However, eventually, the pain went away, and everything was back to normal. Unfortunately for some, this is not the case due to dental malpractice.

Getting one's wisdom teeth removed can be more dangerous than one would expect, and dentists must exercise extreme care not to injure vital nerves within the oral cavity. If you are experiencing heightened pain (more than expected) or extended periods of pain long after the surgery, you may be a victim of malpractice. Before calling in a lawyer, though, you may want to identify some signs that you’ve indeed been operated on wrongfully.

5 Signs You’ve Been a Victim

Damage to the inferior alveolar nerve – One of the most common types of wisdom tooth malpractice is damage within the inferior alveolar nerve. Damage to this nerve creates a sensory problem within the lower lip and chin-midline and can become permanent if severely damaged. Typical symptoms include numbness, tingling, burning, or speech impairment.

Watch out for the third molar – Many malpractice cases arise from the extraction of the third molar during the operation. Lawsuits relating to the injury include temporary or permanent damage to the lingual nerve that releases symptoms such as pain in the tongue including dullness, burning, continuous aching, or a combination of all. If you are experiencing a loss of taste, difficulty speaking, or excessive drooling long after the surgery, you may want to get a second analysis done.

Fractured Bones – Particular case studies in the past have shown negligent extraction causing bone damage within patient victims. More and more cases have developed in recent years with dentists using excessive force when the patient is under anesthesia, resulting in fractured jawbones and severed nerves. If you leave the operation without feeling in your tongue or lip, it may seem normal at first due to the numbing shots. However, after some time (within 24 hours), feeling should begin to come back. If this sensation does not come back, your dentist may have broken part of your jawbone, damaging nerves (particularly the lingual nerve) in the process. Many plaintiffs have won over $200,000 from malpractice cases involving these incidences.

Loss of feeling on the floor of the mouth – One case in the recent past involved a victim who required potato chips sprinkled on her food in order to hear the sound of chewing so she was aware of when to swallow her food. These types of stories are the ones that scare even the bravest people from the dentist chair. After 24 hours, if you lack sensation on the roof or floor of your mouth, or along your gums, you may have permanent nerve damage involving the lingual and chorda tympani nerves. This is quite serious, and a remedial operation may be in order.

Change in taste – Everything may seem okay after the operation when sensation returns to your mouth, but something may still be off. If you find that food tastes differently following your surgery – again, you may be in trouble. Taste comes from nerves linked to your taste buds located on the surface of your tongue. Just like with anything else involving feeling within the body, taste is a sensation developed by neurological connections to the brain. Damaged nerves may send mixed messages (or no messages) to the brain, causing a different reaction to similar foods or beverages. Therefore, a change in taste may be a result of malpractice administered by your dentist.

If you experience one or more of these symptoms after your surgery has passed, you are best served by consulting with a lawyer. For residents of DeLand, Florida, I highly recommend David Heil, PA.

The writer, Matthew Hall, writes freelance articles to help supplement his income after an injury left him unable to work. However, between disability and his writing he is more than able to make ends meet. For more examples of Matthew's work you can visit his Google+.

comments powered by Disqus