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Symptoms of Nerve Damage After Dental Injection

Both health-necessitated and cosmetic dental procedures often involve the use of injections for local anaesthetic, and the safety of these procedures is generally well-established. However, there is still a slim but undeniable risk of nerve damage in cases where a dental injection is not properly carried out. The gravity of the complications of a nerve injury necessitates an in-depth understanding of potential risks and their long-term impacts.

In some circumstances, you may be able to make a compensation claim if you suffer harm after a dental injection. Here, we take a look at the implications of dental injection nerve damage and what you should do if you are concerned that you have received poor dental treatment.

The Purpose of Injections in Cosmetic Dentistry

Injections play an important role in cosmetic dentistry, used to administer local anaesthesia, ensuring patient comfort during various cosmetic procedures, from simple tooth fillings and extractions to more complex processes like dental implants and veneer fittings.

The vast majority of these procedures are performed successfully, with patients experiencing minimal discomfort during and after the procedure. However, as with any form of invasive treatment, there is a small risk of complications. One such potential complication is nerve damage.

Causes of Nerve Damage After Dental Injections

The face, particularly the mouth and jaw, contains a complex network of nerves. These nerves facilitate a variety of functions such as feeling, tasting and controlling the muscles used for chewing and speaking.

Most instances of nerve damage in cosmetic dentistry involve either the inferior alveolar nerve (in the lower jaw) or the lingual nerve (supplying the tongue), given their location in the mouth and their proximity to areas where dental procedures are conducted. Nerve damage can occur if the injection is administered directly into a nerve or if undue pressure is applied during the dental procedure.

The Symptoms of Nerve Damage

Nerve damage often manifests through clear and unmistakable symptoms. You may experience numbness or a pins-and-needles sensation, often described as tingling or burning in the mouth or lips. Complications such as difficulty with speech, an altered sense of taste, or problems with chewing and swallowing food can also suggest potential nerve damage.

It is worth noting that these symptoms typically persist until the damaged nerve has had sufficient time to recover. This healing process can span several weeks or, in certain exceptional cases, might result in permanent nerve damage and lasting symptoms.

What Should You Do if You Are Worried You May Have Suffered a Nerve Injury?

Seeking an early diagnosis and medical help is essential to effectively managing nerve damage. Due to the complexity of nerve injuries, the diagnostic process often involves a thorough physical examination and an in-depth review of the patient's medical history. Specialised tests, including imaging studies, may also be necessary to gauge the extent of nerve damage and devise an appropriate treatment plan.

Nerve Injury Treatment and Management

Pain management and facilitating physical therapy are typically the focus of medical help. However, in more severe cases, surgical intervention might be necessary to repair the damaged nerve, which comes with its own risks. The prognosis largely depends on the severity of the injury and the timeliness of the treatment initiated.

Legal Options Following Nerve Damage from Dental Injections

Once you have sought medical help and are safe, you should consider making a claim for medical negligence. By doing so, you will be able to recover funds that will cover any costs you have incurred and attempt to compensate you for your pain and suffering.

In medical negligence claims, the demonstration of a breached 'duty of care' is a critical component. All medical professionals owe their patients a standard of care that requires them to properly inform the patient of the risks involved, and to perform the procedure without causing harm. To make a compensation claim against a dentist, you must be able to prove that the healthcare professional failed to provide the standard of care expected in the circumstances, leading to injury. For a claim to succeed, it is also necessary to establish a direct causal link between this breach and the ensuing injury.

How Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors Can Help

At Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, we bring to the table a wealth of experience handling clinical negligence claims, including those stemming from nerve damage due to dental injections. Our team of experienced solicitors can guide you meticulously through the legal process, offering assistance from the initial consultation right through to potential litigation.

It is of utmost importance to recognise the symptoms of nerve damage following a dental injection and to take these symptoms seriously. The need for prompt medical attention cannot be emphasised enough.

For more information, contact us today by calling 0808 271 3278, or fill out an online contact form and we will return your call at a time convenient for you.

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Russell Sutton is a partner at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, with a comprehensive understanding of the complexities surrounding dental negligence cases. Russell's commitment to his clients is unmatched, as he empathises with the emotional and physical toll that dental negligence can take on people’s lives.

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