Can Dental Implants Cause Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Although dental implants are up to 98 percent successful, complications can occur in a small number of cases. One possible complication that can arise is the trigeminal nerve may be damaged during the implant process which can lead to the development of a condition called trigeminal neuralgia. If you develop this condition as a result of negligence on the dentist's part, you may be able to collect compensation for medical bills and other damages. Here's more information about this medical condition.

About Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a neuropathic condition characterized by chronic pain in the facial area. The pain is often described as shocking spasms that may last only a few seconds or occur on a continuous basis. Typically, the pain only occurs on one side of the face and usually around the eye, cheek, and/or lower jaw.

Trigeminal neuralgia can be caused by a number of factors. In the case of dental implants, though, the condition can be triggered if the trigeminal nerve that runs through the lower jaw is damaged during the implant process. This can occur in a couple of ways.

The dentist may accidentally cut or damage the nerve while removing a tooth or preparing the site for the implant. The dental implant itself can also be the source of trigeminal pain. If the implant post is placed too deep in the jaw, it may push against the nerve and cause a compression injury (i.e. damage due to constant pressure). Symptoms of this issue may occur right away but be mistaken for the normal discomfort associated with surgery.

Symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia

Damage to the trigeminal nerve must be repaired as quickly as possible; otherwise the injury could result in permanent dysfunction. This nerve is responsible for sending information about pain, touch, pressure, and temperature to the brain. So symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia may include:

  • The onset of pain triggered by
    • Changes in temperature
    • Touching sensitive areas of the face
    • Eating, talking, or brushing the teeth
    • Wind
  • Constant or repetitive stabbing pain on one side of the face
  • Tingling or burning sensations in the face
  • Muscle spasms in the face
  • A complete loss of feeling in the face

If you experience any of these symptoms after getting implants, the pain seems more severe than expected, lasts longer than the normal healing time (7 to 10 days) or doesn't respond to the pain medication prescribed to you, contact your dentist right away. He or she can inspect the area using x-rays to help determine if the dental procedure or the implant has damaged the trigeminal nerve.

Collecting Compensation for Injuries

There is no cure for trigeminal neuralgia. Treatment typically involves the use of medication and various surgical procedures to minimize or eliminate the pain. Additionally, the pain from the condition can increase in severity and occur more frequently as time goes by. Getting compensated for the expense of treating the condition and the discomfort associated with it will be critical to your long-term care.

Suing for dental malpractice involves showing the dentist did not perform the procedure according to the standard of care required by the industry. For instance, if the dentist didn't properly study your x-rays and this led to the person cutting your trigeminal nerve by mistake, you could sue for negligence.

The most challenging aspect of suing for trigeminal neuralgia is proving the condition was caused by the dentist's actions (or failure to act). This condition can be caused by a number of things including age, tumors, head trauma, stroke, and multiple sclerosis. You'll need to provide detail medical records eliminating these other possible causes and show a clear connection between your dental implant and the onset of the disease.

You should work with a personal injury attorney in this type of case. The attorney can help you obtain the necessary evidence and build a viable case against the dentist. For more information about dental malpractice or help litigating a lawsuit, contact a lawyer.