Even people who fear a trip to the dentist will probably agree that dental errors are actually quite rare. However, mistakes do happen and dental negligence can lead to dental nerve damage and similar injuries that may allow you to claim compensation. Our guide on dental nerve injury claims will show you the types of negligence that can result in nerve damage and a compensation claim.
To find out if you could claim compensation for dental nerve injury you can call one of our specialists for free legal advice. We are happy to review your claim for free and answer any questions you think of. There’s no obligation to take action after your claim has been assessed but we could partner you with a medical negligence solicitor from our panel if your case is strong enough. If that happens, you won’t have to pay anything for their work unless you receive compensation for your suffering.
To learn more about dental nerve injury claims, please read on or call 0800 652 1345 to discuss your case with a specialist.
Types of dental nerve injuries you could claim compensation for
Dental nerve injuries can occur during various dental procedures and can lead to discomfort, pain, and potential complications. Some of the most common dental nerve injuries include:
- Pulpal nerve injury. The pulpal nerve is responsible for transmitting pain and other sensations from the tooth to the brain. Damage to the pulpal nerve can occur during dental procedures such as deep fillings or root canal treatments.
- Lingual nerve injury. The lingual nerve is a branch of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve, responsible for providing sensation to the tongue and the floor of the mouth. Lingual nerve damage can occur during oral surgeries, dental implant placement, or the administration of local anaesthesia.
- Inferior alveolar nerve injury. The inferior alveolar nerve is also a branch of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve, supplying sensation to the lower teeth, lower lip, and chin. Damage to this nerve can occur during various dental procedures, such as wisdom tooth extraction or implant placement.
- Buccal nerve injury. The buccal nerve supplies sensation to the cheek and the buccal mucosa (inner lining of the cheek). Damage to this nerve can occur during wrong tooth extractions, especially of the lower molars.
It is possible to recover from dental nerve damage but it can take up to 8 weeks. However, some forms of nerve damage can take much longer to recover from and, in some cases, can cause permanent nerve damage. The amount of time you’ve suffered because of a dental nerve injury caused by negligence is one of the factors that would need to be taken into account if your claim is successful.
Symptoms of a dental nerve injury
The common symptoms of a dental nerve injury include:
- Numbness and loss of sensation (anaesthesia).
- Pain and burning (dysesthesia).
- Tingling (paraesthesia).
- An altered or loss of taste.
- Muscle weakness or paralysis.
- Difficulty with speaking, eating or drinking.
These symptoms can affect the face, tongue, cheeks, gums and face. As well as making it difficult to lead a normal life, these symptoms can also cause a lot of worry and distress. If you experience any symptoms or suspect a nerve injury, you should consult your dentist as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Can I claim compensation for a dental nerve injury?
If you ask a medical negligence solicitor to help you to claim compensation for a dental nerve injury, they’ll review the case with you before agreeing to help. During this assessment, they’ll check your case for:
- Dental negligence: the dentist provided a level of care that fell below what might be reasonably expected of a competent dental professional; and
- Causation: this is a test to confirm that your dental nerve damage occurred as a direct result of the dentist’s negligence.
While medical negligence solicitors fully understand the legal process when claiming for dental negligence, they are not qualified dentists themselves. For this important reason, they will call on the expertise of independent dental experts when assessing the merits of your case.
After reviewing what happened, your claim could proceed if the independent expert agrees that your dentist acted negligently. If it does, your solicitor will start to put together a case to prove the extent of your suffering.
Can I sue an NHS dentist for nerve damage?
It does not matter if you were treated by an NHS dentist or privately. If you’ve sustained dental nerve damage because your dentist was negligent, a solicitor from our panel could help you to start a claim.
If your dental nerve injury claim is taken on, your solicitor will arrange for an independent dental assessment. The report they receive will help them to determine the level of compensation that you might be entitled to claim for the suffering caused by your nerve injury.
How do dental nerve injuries happen due to negligence?
Although nerve injuries are a known risk for many types of dental procedures where the nerve damage is caused by negligence you could be entitled to claim compensation for any subsequent suffering.
Some examples of dental nerve injuries caused by negligence are:
Incorrect administration of local anaesthesia
Local anaesthesia is commonly used in dental procedures to numb the area being treated. If the dentist fails to administer the anaesthesia correctly, such as by injecting it into the nerve or applying excessive force, it can result in nerve damage.
Improper use of dental instruments
Using dental instruments incorrectly, such as applying excessive force during tooth extractions or root canal procedures, can lead to dental nerve injuries. Mishandling instruments or using them inappropriately can also cause trauma to the nerves.
Inadequate surgical techniques
During oral surgery procedures, such as when pulling a wisdom tooth out or carrying out dental implant placement, improper surgical techniques can cause dental nerve damage. For example, if the dentist or oral surgeon accidentally damages the nerves while accessing or removing the tooth, it can result in an injury.
Failure to identify and protect nerves
Before performing certain dental procedures, it’s important for the dentist to identify the location of your nerves and take appropriate measures to protect them. Negligence can occur if the dentist fails to identify your nerves or doesn’t take proper precautions to prevent them from being injured during the procedure.
Lack of informed consent
Informed consent is an important aspect of any dental procedure. If the dentist failed to adequately inform you about the potential risks and complications associated with a procedure, including the risk of dental nerve injuries, and you suffered nerve damage as a result, it may be considered negligence.
If you’ve suffered dental nerve damage and believe your dentist is to blame, call us today on 0800 652 1345 to check your options for free.
Can I claim even if I signed a consent form?
Yes, if your dental nerve injury resulted from a mistake made by your dentist, you could still claim compensation despite the fact that you signed a consent form. These documents are used to prove that you knew about the treatment you were going to have and any risks associated with the procedure. They do not prevent you from suing a negligent dentist.
How much compensation for a dental nerve injury?
Dental injuries can cause psychological, physical and financial suffering. It is therefore important that all of these factors are considered when claiming compensation for a dental nerve injury.
Some of the factors that your solicitor could seek compensation for include:
- Any physical pain, discomfort and suffering resulting from dental nerve damage.
- Psychiatric damage such as distress, depression and anxiety.
- Remedial dental treatment costs.
- Loss of income (present and future).
- Travel costs incurred as a result of your nerve injury (eg for additional dental appointments).
- Loss of amenities if any of your normal activities stopped while you were injured.
- Care costs if someone has helped you with daily activities while you were recovering.
So as not to miss out on any compensation you could be entitled to, you must think about all of the ways in which you have suffered and may continue to suffer in the future before filing a dental nerve injury claim.
Providing proof for dental nerve injury claims
To prove that you should be compensated for a dental nerve injury, you’ll need to demonstrate that a dental professional was negligent and that you were injured as a result. To receive the correct level of compensation, you’d also need to prove the extent of your injury. For these reasons, your solicitor will need evidence to prove your case. This could include:
- Dental records. The first thing your solicitor will do is ask for copies of your dental records from before and after you were treated. These will be used in conjunction with an independent assessment of your dental nerve injuries to confirm their severity and cause.
- Communications. If you received any form of communication about your treatment (such as a response to a complaint), you should forward a copy to your solicitor as it may help them to understand what went wrong.
- Photographic proof. You could take pictures of any visible tooth damage that has led to nerve damage to help prove the cause of your injuries.
- Witness statements. Family, friends or colleagues might be asked to describe how your dental nerve injury has affected you since you were treated. This can help to verify the impact of your injuries.
- Financial records. As it’s sometimes possible to claim back costs and expenses linked to your injuries in dental negligence claims, you should retain any important financial documents (bank statements, receipts, wage slips etc).
Your solicitor will review any proof you’re able to provide if your dental nerve injury claim is taken on and then work hard to gather any other information needed to substantiate your claim.
Dental nerve injury claim time limits
There is a 3-year time limit for any form of dental negligence claim in the UK. The limitation period for dental nerve injury claims therefore usually begins from:
- The date of your dental treatment; or
- Your date of knowledge i.e. when you found out that nerve damage had been caused by dental negligence.
If your child has been the victim of dental negligence, their time limit for claiming begins on their 18th birthday. That means you can claim on behalf of your child at any time before then.
To try and make sure that you don’t miss out on any compensation due because the time limit has run out, we’d suggest starting your claim as early as you can. This should give your solicitor the opportunity to collect any medical evidence and reports needed to support your claim.
No Win, No Fee claims
Taking on a claim for dental negligence can involve detailed medical evidence and complex legal questions regarding causation. We believe you’ll have a better chance of arguing your case successfully if you’re represented by a specialist solicitor on our panel. Importantly, taking on specialist help isn’t necessarily financially risky. That’s because our panel of medical negligence solicitors provide a No Win, No Fee service for all accepted dental claims.
So that your solicitor can start your claim without any form of upfront payment for their work, you’ll be sent a contract. Your Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) will essentially explain that if your dental nerve damage claim fails, you don’t need to pay any legal fees at all. It will also explain what success fee you’ll pay if the claim is won. This fee is a percentage of any settlement that you receive and it pays your solicitor for their time, effort and costs.
Once your solicitor receives your signed CFA, they’ll go to work and try to secure the dental nerve damage compensation you deserve for your suffering. They’ll be available throughout the claims process to answer any of your questions and they’ll send regular updates about how thing’s are progressing.
Start a dental nerve injury compensation claim today
Our team of claims advisors are ready to answer any questions you might have about suing for dental nerve damage. If you call us on 0800 652 1345, an advisor will, first of all, review your claim and explain your options for free.
Should your claim be strong enough, a medical negligence solicitor might agree to take you on as their client. If they do, the whole claim will be managed on a No Win, No Fee basis.
Please use live chat to connect with us if you have any further questions about dental nerve injury claims, or claim your free consultation here.