This is a dental malpractice suit brought by a Prince George's County woman. The defendants are a dental practice and an oral surgeon.
Lingual nerve injuries during tooth extraction are common nor are malpractice lawsuits involving lingual nerve injuries. This is the 17th malpractice lawsuit filed in Maryland 2018 but not the first lingual nerve injury case. Usually, these injuries are temporary and resolve with time. In this scenario, an avoidable lingual nerve injury occurred that is seemingly permanent. In this case, it is alleged that injury was not detected until later despite the patient's complaints and she developed additional health complications.Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations
The plaintiff is undergoing a dental examination performed by the defendants. She is told that her lower third molars (or wisdom teeth) should be removed. During extraction, the plaintiff's inferior alveolar nerve is traumatized. This nerve controls sensation to the lower teeth. The plaintiff then develops numbness to the left side of her lips, chin and gums.
When the plaintiff complains about this numbness several days later, the defendants tell her that it's a temporary side effect. In June, the plaintiff returns with an infection at the site of the tooth extraction. The infection is drained and the plaintiff is given antibiotics by the defendant. The infection persists and the plaintiff is hospitalized roughly one week alter.
The plaintiff is diagnosed with increased swelling and a lesion to the left side of her face. These conditions are treated with an antibiotic IV. The plaintiff is later diagnosed with cellulitis and a facial abscess. She's also found to have continued anesthesia to the left side of the mouth and gums. She seeks a second opinion about her condition from a dentist. The dentist determines she has a permanent fistula and osteomyelitis of the left posterior mandible. A fistula is an infected tunnel that develops in organs like blood vessels while Osteomyelitis is a bone infection. He also determines she has a permanent lingual nerve injury from the earlier tooth extraction.Case Analysis
Wisdom teeth removal is a routine dental procedure. Wisdom teeth are either the second or final pair of adult teeth an individual develops, usually during the late teenage years or early adulthood. However, surgery to remove these teeth places both the lingual and inferior alveolar nerves at risk of injury.
The suit alleges negligence before, during and after surgery. Not only did the defendants fail to take steps to prevent the nerve injury, they injured the nerve and dismissed the patient's complaints of numbness. Careful monitoring of a patient's sensory recovery is critical after oral surgery.
Diagnosing osteomyelitis is difficult. Doctors rely on a combination of intuition and patient symptoms like a high white blood cell count and fever. Usually, suspected osteomyelitis is confirmed with radiological imaging tests. The plaintiff is alleging that these kind of tests should have been performed when she exhibited ongoing facial numbness.
The plaintiff's certifying expert is Armond Kotikian, DDS. Dr. Kotikian is board certified in general surgery as well as oral and maxillofacial surgery. His report confirms that the defendants traumatized the plaintiff's nerve and failed to take corrective action as dictated by the standard of care. Dr. Kotikian also alleges the defendants did not take appropriate precautions before performing the surgery. He concludes that the plaintiff's nerve injury is permanent. He expressed that she will have painful numbness to the left side of her face which interferes with her ability to eat or perform other functions.Alleged Negligence
The defendants failed to take precautions against injuring the plaintiff's inferior alveolar nerve during a wisdom tooth extraction procedure.
The defendants unknowingly traumatized the nerve during the tooth removal.
The defendants also failed to properly investigate the plaintiff's complaints after they became aware of the nerve injury.
The defendants failed to prescribe steroids after discovering the nerve injury or refer the plaintiff to a nerve repair specialist. They also failed to properly address oral infections that arose at the injury site.
A dentist and National Harbor Dental Associates, DDS, P.A.Jurisdiction
Prince George's CountySimilar Cases
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