The idea of going for a dental procedure, especially one that involves surgical intervention, would make most people cringe.
Whilst trained dentists usually adhere to a high standard of care to minimize pain, discomfort, or causing any harm, sometimes things do go wrong. If this happens, you could suffer damage to one of the nerves in the mouth. However, it may be possible to claim compensation for that, if medical negligence caused your injury.
If you are wondering whether it is worth pursuing a dental nerve damage compensation claim, read on and find out all you need to know in this guide.
How Do I Know If I Have Suffered Dental Nerve Damage?
It is common for dental treatment to cause some level of pain and soreness that can last hours or even days after a procedure. However, negligent dental acts can sometimes lead to long lasting problems, including nerve damage.
You can develop a range of different symptoms from dental nerve damage, depending on which sensory pathways have been affected.
For instance, the lingual nerve is susceptible to damage during dental work. If that happens, you may experience symptoms on the tongue or inner mucosa of the mouth. Signs of damage to this nerve can include:
- Impaired speech
- Altered or loss of taste
- Tongue numbness
- A tingling (paraesthesia) or burning (dysesthesia) sensation in the tongue
On the other hand, damage to the Inferior Alveolar nerve can cause loss of feeling, tingling, or burning pain in the lower lip, chin, or jaw.
These symptoms can affect your ability to speak, chew, or eat. Therefore, it is essential to seek medical advice from an oral surgeon as soon as possible after developing any symptoms that are indicative of nerve damage caused by dental works.
When Is Dental Nerve Damage A Result Of Negligence?
Working around the different nerves that are in the mouth and jaw without causing any damage requires exceptional care. But, the risks associated with these procedures can be kept under control if done correctly by adhering to all the safety standards.
However, sometimes mistakes can be made. We will highlight some of them in the following section of the guide, to help you understand what kind of medical negligence can give anyone valid grounds to seek dental nerve damage compensation.
Dental Nerve Damage After Tooth Extraction
Nerve damage is an ever present possible complication of tooth extraction, especially when it comes to the removal of wisdom teeth. However, your dentist should inform you of this and all other risks before carrying out the procedure.
Additionally, it is also essential for your dental care provider to assess how close the tooth due for removal is to surrounding nerves. Through a radiograph, x-rays would provide a clear picture of the risk involved and help to plan for the tooth extraction to go as smoothly as possible.
It could be negligent for a dentist not to take this important safety precaution. In such cases, you may have a valid case to pursue compensation for any nerve damage that you suffer after a dental procedure.
Nerve Damage After Dental Implant
Although nerve damage is also a recognised risk that could develop after a dental implant, you could sue your dentist for nerve damage if you did not give your informed consent before going through the procedure.
Negligence could also occur if the osteotomy (the hole drilled into the jawbone) is too deep or the dental implant used was too long and ended up causing a compressive injury to the nerve.
Such mistakes can occur because of inadequate pre-op imaging, which could later become evident after an Oral & Maxillofacial surgeon requests for additional scans to diagnose suspected dental nerve damage.
Never Damage After Root Canal Treatment
A root canal or endodontics is a dental procedure that attempts to save an infected tooth or one that has decayed significantly. It is quite an invasive operation, one that requires complete removal of the nerve and pulp from the affected tooth. The dentist would then clean and shape the root canal before filling and sealing the space.
Even if nerve injury is a possible risk when it comes to root canal procedures, you could still be able to bring a compensation claim against your dentist if the following mistakes caused your injury.
- The tooth perforated because of root canal overfilling
- Exposure to sodium hypochlorite spillage because of a failure to use a rubber dam
Nerve injury during dental work sometimes resolves over time and can take up to 6-12 months to heal. However, sometimes the damage can be permanent, leaving a person to rely on painkillers and other kinds of medications.
Sometimes dentists may recommend other treatment options, to rectify a failed dental procedure. For instance, you could be advised to attempt nerve reconstruction or even dental implant removal. Any corrective surgery you go through can serve as evidence to support a dental nerve damage compensation claim.
How Do I Prove Negligence For A Dental Nerve Damage Claim?
Not all forms of dental nerve damage are due to negligence.
However, it is possible to get compensation if you can prove you received sub-standard care, or when post-procedure discomfort is outside the expected level of what is considered normal.
Essential evidence that could help to support your case includes:
1. Dental Records
Clinical examinations, diagnosed illnesses, prescribed treatments and a detailed prognosis usually gets documented whenever you seek dental care services. If you suffer nerve damage, your dental records will capture this as well.
That alone can serve as evidence that you did indeed suffer an injury and can help to inform what type of negligence legal experts should investigate, to determine if you received the expected standard of care.
2. Dental Expert Witness
Medical specialists can be called upon to provide expert opinion on dental injuries.
Your legal representative may arrange for an assessment from a qualified dental professional, who will provide a detailed report on the nature of the nerve damage you suffered and the possible negligent acts that may have caused it.
How Much Compensation Can I Get For Dental Nerve Damage?
Nerve damage caused by negligent dental care can not only be debilitating, but also bring on unexpected extra costs. The amount you can get as compensation will depend on the degree of damage done and whether it is permanent or temporary.
Dental nerve damage that leaves you with loss of ability or constant pain, without the possibility of rectifying it, would attract much higher compensation if medical negligence caused the injury.
However, you can also claim for remedial costs incurred to repair the damage, if caused by a dentist who offered sub-standard care.
A successful dental nerve damage claim would also pay compensation for the resulting pain and suffering you have had to endure, as well as any loss of income.
Need Help Starting A Dental Nerve Damage Claim?
If you have been a victim of dental nerve damage and suspect that it was due to medical negligence, it is worth pursuing a compensation claim. You can file a claim, regardless of whether it was an NHS or private dentist who caused you harm.
At Claims Compass, we can help you find a personal injury solicitor who specialises in dental negligence claims. Use the form below and arrange a free, no obligation call from an experienced legal advisor.