Dental Malpractice Claims:
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Nerve Injuries
As a highly qualified dental malpractice lawyer, Dane Levy has worked with many patients who have been hurt due to improper dental procedures. Whether you’re facing anesthesia injuries, the onset of oral cancer, or infections, Dane Levy has experience with a wide variety of cases like yours. Getting one’s wisdom teeth removed can be a painful and stressful experience. Having the procedure performed improperly can lead to injury and further pain. As a leading California dental malpractice attorney, Dane Levy will use his expertise to represent you as effectively as is possible.
While performing dental procedures, dentists must exercise extreme care not to injure vital anatomical structures in the oral cavity, including nerves. An extraction or dental implant nerve injury can have unpleasant and lifelong consequences. For example, the extraction of wisdom teeth (third molars) often gives rise to dental malpractice suits relating to an injury of the lingual nerve that has caused either temporary or permanent nerve damage and related symptoms such as a numb tongue or even more serious complications.
Selected excerpts of reported cases, decisions and settlements. The following factual scenarios and dental malpractice case summaries have been reported in various publications or handled by this law firm.
Case: Oral surgeon transected lingual nerve on 29 year old during wisdom tooth removal. The plantiff was left with complete numbness of the right side of her tongue, floor of the mouth, and loss of taste on the right half. The plantiff also has neuropathic pain. Jury Award: $2.3 million. (The highest jury award nationwide for a transected lingual nerve, October 2011).
Case: Defendant periodontist severed plaintiff’s lingual nerves on the right and left while extracting wisdom teeth. Settlement: $615,000.00
Case: Defendant dentist severed the lingual nerve on both sides of plaintiff’s mouth while removing her lower partially impacted wisdom teeth. Plaintiff was left with difficulty in speaking and no sensation on most of her tongue, the floor of her mouth, and the inside of her gums. Plaintiff cannot ascertain what she is eating and has to sprinkle broken potato chips on her food so that she can hear when to swallow. Jury Verdict: $325,000.00
Case: Oral surgery resident severed plaintiff’s lingual nerve and altered the chart. Settlement: $200,000.00
Case: Defendant oral surgeon was negligent in his extraction of plaintiff’s wisdom teeth. In doing so, the plaintiff’s jaw was fractured, permanent nerve injury was caused, leaving plaintiff with no feeling in his lower lip. The injury has affected plaintiff’s appearance, his ability to speak, drink and eat. Plaintiff alleged that defendant applied excessive force during the extraction. Moreover, plaintiff further claimed that in failing to properly reset his mandible, nerve injury was caused. Total verdict: Plaintiff was awarded $150,000.00 and his wife received $50,000.00 for loss of consortium.
Case: Defendant negligently traumatized plaintiff’s lingual nerve while extracting an impacted lower molar. Plaintiff contended that defendant failed to offer more conservative alternatives when obtaining consent. Defendant denied negligence and contended that lingual nerve injury is a known risk of the procedure and did not indicate negligence. Jury Verdict: $150,000.00 for future pain and suffering and $50,000.00 for past pain and suffering.
Case: Plaintiff had her lower wisdom teeth removed by defendant. After the removal, plaintiff suffered taste alteration, numbness to the front two-thirds of the right side of her tongue. Plaintiff further contended that defendant grabbed her right arm and pushed her back into the dental chair and proceeded to remove her lower right wisdom tooth despite plaintiff telling defendant that she wanted him to stop after defendant had removed her lower left wisdom tooth. Plaintiff alleged that defendant was negligent in permanently injuring plaintiff’s right lingual nerve. Plaintiff brought this case against defendant for professional negligence and battery. Settlement: $250,000.00
Case: General dentist performed the surgical removal of a third molar. The following morning, patient began to experience numbness and a burning tingling sensation on the right side of mouth. Corrective microsurgery was unsuccessful. The bony plate next to the path through which the lingual nerve travels was fractured. Jury Award: $750,000.00
Case: General dentist extracted lower right wisdom tooth. What was thought to be a soft-tissue impaction was actually a bony impaction. Pre-operative x-rays showed that the inferior alveolar canal was in close proximity to the tooth roots. Defendant also failed to obtain informed consent. Confidential Settlement.
Case: Permanent anesthesia of tongue and floor of mouth and facial pain due to negligent extraction of wisdom teeth. Both lower wisdom teeth were extracted and both the left and right lingual nerves were severed. Remedial surgery to replace the severed nerves with a nerve from the patient’s foot was unsuccessful. Patient further was caused to have slurred speech and constantly bites tongue. Jury Award: $257,334 and $2,000 for loss of consortium to plaintiff’s husband.
Case: Permanent parasthesia after extraction of three wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth extracted due to patient’s inability to completely open jaw. Extraction of the teeth was performed and altered sensation in patient’s lower jaw resulted. Plaintiff claimed that because of the numbness, she drools and that her eating habits have been affected. Social life has changed because now avoids interacting. Verdict for $750,000.00. Case subsequently settled for $200,000.00.
Case: Four wisdom teeth were extracted resulting in numbness on right side of tongue, right lower jaw, and in gums. Traumatic severance of the right lingual nerve was diagnosed. Nerve anastomosis was performed where a portion of the nerve from patient’s ankle was placed in the mouth but the sensation did not return. Mediation Settlement: $275,000.00
Case: Unnecessary extraction of wisdom tooth resulted in permanent nerve injury. Patient presented with infection that subsided with antibiotics. Wisdom tooth was extracted despite its close proximity to the mandibular nerve. Defendant had failed to advise plaintiff of the risks entailed with the procedure. Permanent nerve damage resulted with permanent residual pain. Pain will not subside despite numerous medical procedures. Unrelenting pain has dramatically affected quality of life and work. Verdict: $750,000.00
Case: Significant severance of right lingual nerve. Numbness causes additional stress later in day. Continuous electric shock -like sensations on right side of tongue. Lack of informed consent also pled. Verdict: $250,000.00
Case: Trauma to nerve bundle as a result of negligent third molar extraction. Nerve bundle consisting of lingual and chorda tympani nerves injured during use of dental elevator or dental handpiece. Jury Verdict: $500,000.00