Dental nerve damage compensation claims
There are a number of dental procedures that can, if the dentist doesn’t take adequate care or is not competent enough to carry out the treatment, result in temporary or permanent tooth nerve damage in their patient. This can mean that you can receive dental nerve damage compensation. This, in many cases, means that you can be awarded dental nerve damage compensation by completing a dental nerve damage claim.
The trigeminal nerve is the one usually affected because parts of it are in close proximity to the jaw and mouth and it is the tooth nerve responsible for feeling/sensation in the face, as well as for functions such as chewing and biting. Nerve damage due to dental malpractice can lead to numbness of the face, lips, and tongue, difficulties eating and many other serious issues.
Can you sue a dentist for nerve damage?
If you have experienced a dental procedure that has caused lasting numbness, loss of taste, loss of sensation or more, start your claim today to receive dental nerve damage compensation. Any instance where there has been an occurrence of malpractice or negligence on your dentist’s part means that there is a possibility your dentist is liable for nerve damage.
What are the Signs of Tooth Nerve Damage?
Some of the signs and symptoms of tooth nerve damage after receiving dental treatment include:
- Numbness or lack of feeling in the tongue, gums, cheeks, jaw or face
- A tingling or pulling sensation in these areas
- Pain or a burning feeling in these areas
- Loss of ability to taste
- Difficulties with speech due to one or more of the above
- Difficulties with eating due to one or more of the above
Signs of nerve damage in tooth can last for a short time after the procedure, or can be permanent, in some cases, where the damage done during the dental procedure was severe.
Not all tooth nerve damage after dental treatment is due to the negligence of a dentist, but if your dentist has not taken the care that they should, it may be that the damage caused could have been avoided if not for their mistake(s). Contact Dental Law Partnership today for advice.
What types of dental treatments are most likely to result in tooth nerve damage?
Whilst most dental procedures go to plan and no tooth nerve damage is caused, there are some types of treatment that are higher risk than others for this kind of injury. These are explained below:
Can dental anaesthesia cause nerve damage?
Although rare, persistent and sometimes permanent nerve damage can occur after dental injections and anaesthesia. Temporary nerve damage is more common, and it usually improves within a few days or weeks. Permanent nerve damage after a dentist injection of local anaesthetic near to nerves that are close to the affected area during your dental procedure is rare, but not unheard of.
Sometimes, the dentist needle can come into contact or “hit a nerve”, causing a sensation of an “electric shock.” This can occasionally be all it takes to produce paraesthesia during dental treatment.
Nerve damage after tooth extraction
Can a tooth extraction cause nerve damage? Yes. As parts of the trigeminal nerve are close to the areas affected when a tooth is extracted, damage can sometimes be caused when this type of procedure is carried out. From the extraction of normal adult teeth to the extraction of a wisdom tooth, there is the possibility of nerve damage from tooth removal. Trigeminal nerve damage caused by tooth extraction can cause pain, tingling and numbness in your lower lip, chin, tongue, teeth and your gums.
Your dentist should always explain the risk of potential tooth nerve damage to you before you agree to treatment like this. If they fail to inform you of the risks and don’t fully explain the procedure, this could potentially mean you are eligible to make a compensation claim for your dentist’s failure to obtain consent, especially if the treatment results in tooth nerve damage.
How common is nerve damage in wisdom tooth removal?
There is a nerve which controls sensation to the chin, lower lip and lower teeth that runs through the lower jaw and is sometimes near the lower wisdom teeth. If, during wisdom tooth extraction, this nerve is bruised or stretched, some patients may experience numbness in the chin, lip or lower teeth on that side. Nerve damage may be temporary and can take up to 6 months to heal, however in severe cases, the nerve damage after extracting a wisdom tooth can be permanent. Many people experience numbness or tingling in the face or jaw after their wisdom teeth are removed. After a few days it should return to normal.
Nerve damage in teeth after fillings
If you experience sensitivity after a filling, the small nerves inside your tooth may take a couple of days to heal properly. The procedure of fillings sometimes means that nerves inside the tooth have been aggravated. Fillings, no matter how deep, can get close to the sensitive nerve endings in teeth and cause irritation and unpleasant sensations. For some people, this pain goes away in a couple of days; for some, a few weeks. If you have experienced enduring pain for a prolonged period, however, you may have suffered from dental nerve damage.
Nerve damage from dental implants
As part of the process for fitting dental implants, holes are drilled into the jaw, and if the dentist mistakenly drills too far, this could result in nerve damage. Another way that this procedure can cause nerve damage is if the implant itself is longer than it should be, so presses on the tooth nerve once in place.
Nerve damage from root canal treatment
Root canal treatment (also called endodontic treatment) aims to repair and save a tooth that is infected or damaged. To carry out this procedure, the dentist must remove the nerve and pulp from the affected tooth before cleaning away any bacteria and sealing it to prevent reinfection. This type of treatment can sometimes cause tooth nerve damage if the procedure causes trauma to the surrounding area or if the solution used as part of the cleaning process is allowed to infiltrate other parts of the mouth or jaw.
Nerve damage in front teeth
The nerves in your teeth are in the ‘pulp.’ This is the bundle of small nerves that gather at blood vessels at the centre of the tooth. Dental sensitivity can occur for many reasons, and some people experience pain in just one tooth. If you have nerve pain that concentrates on one specific tooth, the problem is more than likely affecting the tooth pulp. This can be caused by a cracked or chipped tooth, an infection, recent fillings or teeth grinding.
Your tooth could also hurt due to sensitivity issues. Dental sensitivity arises when the tooth’s enamel is damaged or eroded away. Heat, cold and acid can reach the sensitive nerve endings in the dentin layer of the tooth and cause nerve pain. Teeth whitening products, receding gums, and untreated cavities can also be causes. If you have had recent gum surgery that exposes the tooth roots, this can cause nerve pain in teeth.
Pain relief for tooth nerve damage
Many choose to opt for over-the-counter pain relief to help alleviate the pain associated with tooth nerve damage and toothache. It is recommended to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS), such as Ibuprofen, or painkillers, such as paracetamol, for temporary relief of tooth nerve damage pain. A pharmacist can advise you on this if needs be.
You can also try rinsing your mouth with salt water or apply a pain-relieving gel to the affected area in your mouth. It is recommended that you avoid very hot or cold foods as these may make the pain even worse. Stay clear of hard or crunchy food and opt for something soft, like scrambled eggs.
Can nerve damage to teeth repair itself?
Dependent on the procedure used to treat a tooth, the amount of time it takes for your tooth to recover after nerve damage can vary. An infected nerve can never heal by itself, however it’s important to note that your teeth are in fact ‘alive’ and like any other tissue in the body, they can heal themselves to some degree, if given the chance! This healing process is aided by your saliva and good oral hygiene.
Unfortunately, if you are experiencing extensive tooth decay and nerve damage, this may not be possible.
Can a tooth infection cause nerve damage?
When the pulp in a tooth is damaged, it can break down – leaving opportunity for bacteria to multiply within the pulp chamber. This can develop into a tooth infection or abscess that forms at the end of a tooth’s root. This can cause:
- Swelling that spreads to other areas of the face, neck, or extend to the head
- Bone loss at the tip of the root
- Drainage issues – a hole can appear in the side of the tooth, with drainage into the gums or even through the cheek into the skin.
All these issues can magnify existing toothache and exacerbate pain caused by tooth nerve damage.