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What is an oral nerve injury?

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2022 | Dental Injuries And Malpractice |

Whenever you go to the dentist, you are there to make sure your teeth and gums stay healthy. You want to know that they’re doing work that is necessary and that the work is done right.

An oral nerve injury could happen, though, if you have your wisdom teeth removed and suffer nerve damage during the process. Unfortunately, this injury can be permanent in some people, so it is worth looking into the reason for the injury and if your dentist made an error during the procedure.

The jaw: Home to major nerves

In the jaw, there are many major nerve bundles. One nerve, the inferior alveolar nerve, can run between the roots of the wisdom teeth, making it possible for the nerve to be damaged when the tooth is taken out.

Realistically, there are times when the dentist may not be able to avoid harming the nerve, such as if it is wrapped around the wisdom tooth’s roots. However, for many people, the nerve isn’t that near to the tooth and can be avoided.

If the nerve isn’t in a precarious position, then why do nerve injuries happen?

Nerve damage is fairly rare in dental procedures, and even when it does happen, it tends not to be permanent damage. However, there are times when the damage will be severe enough to lead to irreversible damage that affects the jaw and other parts of the mouth.

The damage can happen when cutting bone during a surgical extraction or by being compressed by swelling. Generally, as swelling improves and the tissues heal, the nerve recovers as well. It may not, though.

How long will it take to get nerve function back?

Usually, it comes back within three months. It may take up to a year, though. If it has been longer than a year, it may not come back at all.

If you lose nerve function, you may have a malpractice claim

Dentists and oral surgeons know to take precautions to avoid causing nerve damage. If they do not, you may have a claim against them for causing frustrating, potentially permanent, damage.

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