Can I Sue My Dentist for Causing My TMJ?

First of all, it’s important to understand that dental malpractice lawsuits are generally difficult to win so it is essential to have a highly skilled experienced dental malpractice attorney on your side. Second, although dentists can cause TMJ, it can be difficult to prove this since TMJ has many possible causes. Working with our practice, however, gives you an advantage.

Lance Ehrenberg, Esq., our dental malpractice attorney, is extremely knowledgeable in this field and, once he determines that you have a viable case, is well-equipped to fight hard to win you the damages you deserve.

What is TMJ and what causes it to occur?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, the joint that hinges the temporal bone of the skull to the lower jaw. We each have two of these joints, one on each side. When either joint is not properly aligned, stress is put on other joints and muscles in the region, causing pain, tenderness, and, in severe cases, dysfunction of the jaw itself.

There are a number of causes for this disorder, including:

  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Extreme stress
  • Poor posture
  • Arthritis
  • Excessive gum chewing
  • Substandard dental care

Symptoms of TMJ

When your  temporomandibular joint is out of alignment, you may experience:

  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw
  • Pain in one or both temporomandibular joints
  • Aching in and around your ear(s)
  • Difficulty or pain while chewing
  • Aching facial pain
  • Locking of the joint (difficulty opening or closing your mouth)
  • Clicking sound or grating sensation when opening your mouth or chewing 

TMJ symptoms may be mild or severe. Severe symptoms of TMJ can make patients miserable, both physically and emotionally. If you believe that the TMJ that is interfering with your quality of life was caused by the negligence of your general dentist, oral surgeon or orthodontist, contact our office to have your case professionally evaluated and to find out your best options. 

Possible Ways Your Dentist May Have Caused Your TMJ

Like all healthcare professionals, your dentist is responsible for providing you with competent care. If you had no prior problems with TMJ until your visits to the dentist and began experiencing symptoms only after a dental trauma that occurred while you were being treated, we may be able to prove that your dentist’s negligence caused your TMJ, and you are entitled to compensation. 

One of a dentist’s primary responsibilities is ensuring that your bite is even. During a dental procedure, your dentist is responsible for ensuring that your bite remains properly aligned. To this end, he or she should be checking your bite on a regular basis.

TMJ can be the result of poor dental work for which your dentist can be held liable, including:

  • Poorly placed dental implants
  • Uneven fillings
  • Poorly placed dental implants
  • Faulty bridges or crowns
  • Improperly placed braces and orthodontic appliances

Everyone makes mistakes, and dental inserts, implants, or appliances may require adjustment to perfect your bite. While temporary dental discomfort is not unexpected, if your dentist dismisses your serious ongoing complaints or denies that your injury is the result of dental work performed, you have the right to seek compensation

on through legal channels.

How We Can Help You Win Damages

To make a successful case for dental malpractice, your dental malpractice attorney must prove four things:

  1. There is a dentist-patient relationship so your dentist owes you a duty of care
  2. Your dentist has breached that duty by not maintaining a reasonable standard of care
  3. Your dentist’s breach caused your injury
  4. Your injury has resulted in real damages (e.g. loss of income, cost of medical treatment, pain and suffering)

In dental malpractice cases, it is essential that we obtain a qualified medical expert to testify that your injury was the result of improper care on the part of your dentist and to explain how normal procedures were not followed in this case.

Contact Our Experienced Dental Malpractice Attorney Promptly

If your dentist’s negligence has left you with long-term or permanent damage to your temporomandibular joint, don’t feel hopeless. Give us a call so we can assess your specific situation and help you receive justice.


About the Author
Of all the different areas in medical malpractice, it is podiatry malpractice that has had a particular interest to me. With 42 years practicing law and representing hundreds of victims of malpractice, I have created a law practice in which my clients are comfortable knowing that their case is being handled with my personal attention, in the most professional manner, and without unreasonable delays.