Dental Malpractice a/k/a Dental Negligence, including Dental Nerve Injuries

Every year we all anxiously await the inevitable; our annual trip to the dentist. Some people are fortunate enough to manage going through this visit with a pat on the back and being sent home with bag of goodies, including a new toothbrush, and told they have done a nice job as they schedule their next annual appointment with nothing further that needs to be done in the meantime. For most of us, however, that is not the case. After the hygienist has throughly cleaned, scraped, and flossed our teeth until our gums bleed, then in comes the dentist for the check-up. The dentist shines a bright light in our eyes so we can barely see the reflection of the rubber gloves coming towards our mouth as we are told to open wider. Then the dentist gently examines each and every quadrant of our mouth and as he/she starts telling the hygienist our fate, in dentist language, as the hygienist rapidly makes notes in our chart. We have been there before and we know the news is not good. Despite all the fancy teeth brushing gadgets we have purchased and used over the year, along with the matching tooth paste and mouth wash, not to mention the rigorous flossing, we still have not escaped this years check up without a follow-up visit for another procedure.

Whether the follow-up visit is as simple as a filling or as complicated as a root canal, we already begin counting the days until the dreadful follow-up procedure, and rightfully so as this is when things usually go wrong. In the legal world, we call this Dental Malpractice a/k/a Dental Negligence. Similar to Medical Malpractice, Dental Malpractice Cases are very difficult cases for the injured to navigate alone without the proper assistance of competent legal counsel. At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates, our Dental Malpractice Attorneys are very experienced lawyers who have practiced in the field of dental malpractice for many years and obtained verdicts for clients in the six figures. Since Dental Malpractice, also known as Dental Negligence, is a very specialized field, it is imperative that you seek an attorney that has had years of experience in this field and also has years of experience in the courtroom as a litigator in the event that your case needs to go to trial. Our Dental Malpractice Lawyers have both extensive dental malpractice experience and a proven trial record. We are available any time to discuss your dental malpractice case and we offer a Free Legal Consultation and we can be reached by any or all of the following means: By phone at (770) 865-8654 or (813) 363-6664; by email at; and/or by the Contact Form on this website.

Since many of us have had less than pleasant experiences at the dentist, most of which have not risen to the level of dental malpractice but simply being uncomfortable before, during, and after our visit, it is at the point of the more complicated procedure that we may question the integrity of our dentist. Of course, we want to trust our dentist as we want to trust our doctor. After all, these are people who have gone through years of schooling, hours of practice on the less fortunate, and have managed to pull together enough resources for either an office of their own or they work for another dentist who we hope has throughly reviewed their qualifications and entrusted in them enough to put their names together as if they were one in the same. After we have reconciled this in our minds, we either decide to show up for our next appointment with this dentist or we feverishly look for a second opinion.

I can admit that I have done both, or a variation thereof, and so have our clients. We have learned that sometimes our instincts were right in finding another dentist and sometimes our instincts were wrong. Either way, it can come as a grave disappointment that we can’t find competent and qualified people in a profession as well respected as dentistry that know how to do their jobs, or, at the very least, know when they are in over their heads and we should be referred to a specialist. It is equally as disconcerting when the results that we obtain are so questionable that we seek legal counsel to investigate whether or not what we experienced rises to the level of Dental Negligence.

To assist you in making this determination, the following is a list of common Dental Malpractice Cases that we see. Please note that even if you don’t see your specific complaint on this list, does not mean that you have not been the victim of Dental Negligence as this list is only a general guide:

  1. Not performing a proper, through, and complete examination or your teeth, mouth, and gums, and anything ancillary thereto;
  2. Not detecting diseases of the mouth such as a tumor or cancer;
  3. Not informing you of all your treatment options and discussing with you the pros and cons of each option;
  4. Not referring you to a specialist when a specialist is warranted under the circumstances;
  5. Not giving you antibiotics before certain procedures;
  6. Not using the drugs such as Septocaine, to numb your teeth and mouth, properly so that permanent damage to the nerves in caused;
  7. Causing injury to the jaw, oral cavity, or the areas that surround tissue and bone;
  8. Severing nerves when Removing Teeth;
  9. Not performing procedures correctly involving crowns, dental bridges, implants, and/or root canals that result in injury to the nerve and/or infection; and
  10. Improperly placing Dental Implants that causes damage to the nerves; and
  11. Damaging the sinus cavity such as a puncture during the procedure.

The types of Injuries that we commonly see are as follows. Again, you may have experienced an injury that is not on this list and that is still a valid injury as this list is a general guideline:

  1. Infection of the tongue, brain and/or mouth including injuries to the brain that the infection causes to the brain;
  2. Injuries that are permanent to the tongue and/or the nerves that lead to the tongue a/k/a the lingual nerve;
  3. The chin, face, jaw, and/or lips having damaged nerves;
  4. Cancers and Bleeds that are not controlled;
  5. The patient suffering other injuries that are Catastrophic or Severe in nature; and
  6. The patient suffering a Stroke, Heart Attack, and/or Wrongful Death.

Catastrophic, Permanent, and Serious injuries such as those stated above, and others that you might have experienced, and this includes the tragedy of Wrongful Death, can cause chaos in your life. The physical pain can be unbearable as well as the emotional pain and suffering that you may endure. If you have suffered these or similar injuries due to the negligence of a dentist or other dental professional, including specialists, then you are entitled to compensation. Your damages may include, but are not limited to, past, present and future dental and medical bills, lost wages, permanent disability, the loss of the quality of life to which you were accustomed, the loss of the taste of food that you once enjoyed, and/or the loss of your outward appearance that you had prior to the negligent act or actions. Your spouse may even be entitled to damages for the loss of your companionship. In a Wrongful Death case, loved ones are entitled to compensation for the loss of their loved one very similar to any other Wrongful Death Case.

We also see cases where a person’s nerves have been injured and these are called Dental Nerve Injuries. Some examples of common dental nerve injures are as follows. Again, you may have suffered a Dental Nerve Injury that is not on the list below and that is still a dental nerve injury worth exploring as the list below is just a general guideline:

  1. Nerve injury or other damage during treatment by an Orthodontist such as Resporation of the Root that can result in the teeth being lost;
  2. Nerve injury or other damage when there are Shy Margins that leave the Dentin Surface exposed such as when a veneer or crown doesn’t cover the surface of the tooth that has been prepared;
  3. Nerve injury or other damage when there is an Open Margin such as when a veneer or crown is cemented in place and the margins are not sealed;
  4. Nerve injury or other damage due to Over Contour such as when a crown is larger than the tooth it was meant to restore;
  5. Nerve injury or other damage due to Gum Disease that could have or should have been treated by either the dentist or a gum specialist a/k/a a periodontist;
  6. Nerve injury or other damage caused to the Lingual Nerve that is usually caused when wisdom teeth are extracted, and signs and symptoms of said injury can be noticed by the following, including, but not limited to: a.) Excessive drooling; b.) Burning, pain, numbness, and/or a tingling of the tongue; c.) Altered or lost taste; and/or d.) Speech that is impaired.
  7. Nerve injury or other damage caused by injury to the Trigeminal Nerve most common with root canal procedures, and can be identified by the forehead and face losing feeling as well as constant pain along with a sensation of crawling or burning;
  8. Nerve injury or other damage that is caused by damage to the Trigeminal Nerve and is one of the conditions that causes the most pain, and it is usually caused by another dental nerve injury that is difficult to determine the origin thereof;
  9. Nerve injury or other damage caused by Dental Implants that is usually caused when the implants are drilled too deep, and can be identified by numbness or pain that is sharp that continues eight (8) hours or more after placement of the implant;
  10. Nerve injury or other damage caused by an Overfill or Over-Instrumentation of a Root Canal that occurs when the materials that fill the root are overfilled or overextended so that they intrude upon the other nerves in the jaw and/or into the sinus, and can be identified when the lip and/or chin lacks sensation, is uncomfortable, and/or painful and said symptoms are constant; and
  11. Nerve injury or other damage that is caused by an Injury to the Inferior Alveolar Nerve that is most often caused when having wisdom teeth removed, having a dental implant placed, and/or having a root canal that involves an overfill or over-instrumentation, and can be detected by symptoms such as impairment of speech, excessive drooling, pain that burns, numbness, and/or a tingling of the gums, lips, and chin.

If you or a loved one has experienced any of these events or the like, then you may have been the victim of Dental Malpractice/Dental Negligence and you should consult a Dental Malpractice Lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case. At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates our Dental Malpractice Attorneys are here to discuss your case and we offer you a Free Legal Consultation so please feel free to contact us at: (404) 865-8654 or (813) 363-6664; at; and/or by the Contact Form on the webpage. We look forward to hearing from you soon and assisting you with assessing your potential Dental Negligence/Dental Malpractice case.