When you hear that you need to get a tooth pulled, it is most likely your wisdom tooth. Or sometimes teeth! Normally, we have four wisdom teeth. However, some people do not get all of their wisdom teeth to form. Others have wisdom teeth that get hooked behind other teeth and will never come in or cause a problems. Some, unfortunately, have wisdom teeth come in impacted. This means that they come in sideways and do not come through the gums of the mouth and need to be cut out. Other times a wisdom tooth comes in but is hard to clean and gets infected or a big cavity. In this situation the tooth must be removed.
While usually an easy procedure, a wisdom tooth extraction can have many complications. This includes extreme bleeding, infection, and damage to other teeth. These are more normal, and almost accepted as common complications.
However, nerve damage is also another common injury from a wisdom tooth extraction. This is particularly true of the lower, bottom teeth. This is because the bottom wisdom teeth set nerve one of the cranial nerves which affect the jawline, lip, and tongue on that side. The root of the wisdom tooth can be very close to the nerve and even touching. If a tooth is not carefully extracted, it can pull the flesh nerve the nerve and damage it. If the dentist pushes down too hard on a tooth, the foot can even be pushed into the nerve and damage it.
Nerve injuries during wisdom tooth extractions should never happen.
If it happens to you or a loved one, you may have a medical malpractice claim! This is because, even if the wisdom tooth root is touching the nerve, the dentist should know this! X-rays must be performed prior to an extraction. If it is close to the nerve, other imaging studies must be performed to gauge where the tooth and the nerve are. There needs to be precautions taken to ensure there are no risks of damage to the nerve. If it cannot be controlled, then there should be no extraction.
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