Dentist’s Tooth Extraction Procedure Causes Nerve Damage

This case involves a twenty-four-year-old female patient who presented to her dentist for a routine tooth filling.

Michael Talve, CEO

Written by
— Updated on August 30, 2021

Dentist’s Tooth Extraction Procedure Causes Nerve Damage

The patient was not in any pain at the time of the visit but the doctor advised her that she needed to have a root canal procedure performed, or, alternatively, extract the tooth due to nerve exposure. The patient chose the tooth extraction and the procedure was met with great complication.

According to the medical note, the root fractured during the extraction and the dentist called in a more experienced doctor to extract a portion of the root tip that had broken off. During the extraction of the root fragment, the patient stated that the doctor repeatedly expressed that he was having difficulty visualizing the area, yet he continued digging into the socket for a long duration of time. The more experienced dentist, however, seemed to be able to remove the root tip quickly and easily.

After the extraction, the patient was in unrelenting facial pain. She was told to return to the dentist’s office where he removed bone fragments from the surrounding gum tissue. The pain continued and increased in severity, which prompted the patient to go to the emergency room where she received a preliminary diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia. A neurological consultation confirmed the trigeminal neuralgia and the patient ultimately had to undergo a vascular decompression surgery to treat the condition.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Can an aggressive and negligent tooth extraction be linked as the underlying cause of the trigeminal neuralgia?

Expert Witness Response E-005198

Symptomatic forms can have multiple origins. Aneurysms, tumors, chronic meningeal inflammation, or other lesions may irritate trigeminal nerve roots along the major pathways causing symptomatic trigeminal neuralgia. Infrequently, adjacent dental work or dental fillings composed of dissimilar metals may trigger attacks.

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