Can You Sue a Dentist for TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge joint between the lower jaw and skull with a small disc between the bones. It facilitates opening and closing the mouth and moving the jaw from side to side. The TMJ is a very important joint, as it allows a person to eat, drink and talk. An injury or trauma to this body part can result in impairments that significantly transform your quality of life for the worse. When the TMJ suffers trauma at the hands of a dentist, the resulting damage can be severe — and permanent.
TMJ disorders are common and cause pain in the jaw and surrounding muscles, especially when you move your jaw. They involve irritation or trauma to the joint connecting the bottom jaw to the skull. This damage can result from excessive force during procedures, particularly wisdom teeth and molar extraction.
Consider the following common symptoms of TMJ disorders:
- Pain in the TMJ
- Clicking or popping sounds when the jaw moves
- Lockjaw, in which the jaw joint gets stuck and locks up, not allowing the mouth to open or close
- Facial swelling
- Ringing in the ears
TMJ disorders are often confirmed by X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans of the jaw.
The most serious TMJ disorders are caused by trauma, including excessive force by a dentist during wisdom tooth or molar extraction. In these cases, it may be possible to sue your dentist, periodontist, or oral surgeon for dental malpractice — especially if the injury is not eased by physical therapy or other non-surgical treatment.
Building a case
The outcome of a TMJ lawsuit is contingent on proving that the dental procedure caused your TMJ disorder. Because there are so many possible causes besides a dental procedure, you need a lawyer who is experienced with these kinds of cases. Your dental malpractice lawyer must be able to prove that your TMJ disorder was caused by dental trauma inflicted by your doctor rather than arising from a preexisting problem or an unrelated event.
For help with a dental nerve injury lawsuit, call Rich & Rich, P.C. today at 347.696.7707 to schedule a free consultation, or contact us online.