woman with a tooth ache

Why Dental Nerve Damage is Debilitating

Dental nerve damage is never a minor thing. This type of injury can be debilitating and permanent. Those who are unfortunate enough to experience this type of injury understand the negative effect it has on one’s overall well being. The mouth has many nerves, but the inferior alveolar nerve (IAN) and the lingual nerve (LN) are the two most frequently damaged nerves during dental procedures.

This type of injury is commonly known as neuropathy, which is caused by the breakdown of the myelin sheath.

Myelin sheath: “A wrapping of myelin around certain nerve axons, serving as an electrical insulator that speeds nerve impulses to muscles and other effectors.”

Inferior Alveolar Nerve Injuries are most commonly caused during

  • Dental implant placement
  • Wisdom tooth removal
  • Over-instrumentation or Overfilling of a tooth during a root canal treatment


  • Impaired speech
  • Burning pain in the gums, lips, or chin
  • Drooling
  • Tingling or shock-like sensation in the gums, lips, or chin
  • Numbness in the gums, lips, or chin

Dental Implants

A dental implant is a procedure that is fused directly into the jawbone. If drilled too deeply, they can cause permanent damage to the inferior alveolar nerve. If you experience sharp pain or numbness within 8 hours of surgery, your dentist should be contacted immediately. The window to treating this type of nerve injury is short and failure to do so can result in permanent nerve damage.

Root Canal Over-Instrumentation or Overfill

The main sensory nerve in the lower part of the jaw can be injured during a root canal procedure due to the overextended filling of materials. A lack of sensation, numbness, pain, or discomfort in the lip or chin is an indication of overfill of the lower/back teeth. This damage can be extensive and permanent.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Nerve Injuries

This type of nerve damage is among the most painful. However, the diagnosis for trigeminal nerve damage is hard to pinpoint. Trigeminal neuralgia nerve damage causes severe pain in the jaw, lips, nose, forehead, scalp, and eyes. Many dental malpractice victims are diagnosed with this condition when they have suffered traumatic dental nerve damage. It is among the most painful and is often accompanied by a burning or crawling sensation, which is like the discomfort of a migraine. Pain is often set off by touching or even gentle air currents, which can make everyday activities and routines challenging.

Lingual Nerve Injury

This type of injury is usually caused during the extraction of wisdom teeth. Symptoms are:

  • Drooling
  • Changes in taste
  • Loss of taste
  • Tingling sensation in the tongue
  • Altered speech
  • Burning or pain in the tongue

Other Causes of Dental Nerve Damage

  • Gum Disease – When a dentist does not properly treat periodontal disease, over an extended period, it may cause nerve damage
  • Orthodontic Treatments – Nerve damage can generally be avoided during orthodontic treatment. However, root resorption is possible and can lead to tooth loss. Root resorption is the breakdown or elimination of the root structure of a tooth caused by extensive pressure on the root surface. Root resorption is difficult to treat and usually results in tooth loss

If you have experienced nerve damage from a dental procedure and need of more information on how to proceed in taking legal action, contact our office today. We are here to answer any questions you may have and get you the help you need. Contact us.