Failed root canal

My Jaw Was Fractured During a Dental Procedure. Can I sue for dental malpractice?

The short answer is yes, though it should be remembered that you can pretty much sue for any medical or dental injury, but that doesn’t mean you’ll win. Still, if a skilled dental malpractice attorney like Lance Ehrenberg, Esq. of Dental & Podiatry Malpractice Lawyers of New York agrees to take your case, you may have a distinct edge. 

He has decades of successful litigation experience in this particular field of law so he has a strong sense of when compensatory damages are worth fighting for. Nonetheless, verdicts are never guaranteed. Fortunately for you, you will pay nothing for his services until he wins your case.

Jaw Fractures as a Result of Dental Negligence Are Not Uncommon

While the most gruesome dental fractures are typically the result of car accidents, violent assaults, and sports or industrial accidents, dental fractures may also occur when dentists do not take necessary care when performing tooth extractions, dental implant surgeries or other dental procedures. 

A jaw fracture involves a crack or break in the mandible, the large major bone of the lower face.

Like other fractures, jaw fractures can range from mild to severe. Without careful adherence to dental techniques designed to prevent harm to the surrounding bone and tissues, a dentist may put the patient in jeopardy. Incorrect positioning during bone grafting or inserting dental implants can result in an excruciating and disabling jaw fracture. 

If your dentist’s negligence is evident in his or her failure to adhere to reasonable measures a dental professional is expected to follow, and that failure resulted in your jaw fracture, you are well within your rights to seek legal compensation. Lance Ehrenberg will examine pertinent dental and medical records thoroughly, interview any witnesses to the incident, and seek expert testimony that will bolster your case.

What are the symptoms of a broken jaw?

Depending on the nature and severity of the jaw fracture, patients may experience some or all of the following:

  • Pain in the face or jaw that worsens with movement
  • Numbness of the face, especially the lower lip
  • Ear pain on the affected side
  • Bruising and swelling of the face, bleeding from the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing and/or talking
  • Jaw stiffness, difficulty opening or closing the mouth 
  • Asymmetrical jaw movement when opening the mouth
  • Jaw tenderness or pain, exacerbated by biting or chewing
  • Loose or damaged teeth
  • Abnormal appearance of cheek or jaw

Jaw fractures require urgent medical attention since they may result in life-threatening complications, such as obstructed breathing, heavy bleeding, aspiration of food into the lungs, and serious infection.

How are fractured jaws treated?

The treatment required for a fractured jaw depends on the severity of the break. Minor fractures may heal on their own, but the patient will still need pain medication and will undoubtedly have to stay on a diet of liquids and very soft food until the jaw is fully healed.

Moderate or severe jaw fractures require surgery during which jaw wires are attached to the teeth of the opposite jaw to ensure stability during healing. These wires are left in place for 6 to 8 weeks, while small elastic bands hold the teeth together. Gradually elastic bands are removed so the patient can begin to exercise the jaw and reduce joint stiffness. As you would expect, the surgery and apparatus are painful, uncomfortable, and extremely intrusive on the patient’s daily routine. Sometimes, surgery to install a plate and screws is required.

Why You Need an Experienced Dental Malpractice Attorney to Recover Damages

Dental malpractice is difficult to prove so you need the services our practice will provide to give yourself the best possible chance of receiving the compensation you are entitled to for:

  • Uncovered medical, dental, and rehabilitation costs
  • Lost income, present and future
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Although most patients heal completely from jaw fractures, some are left with TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) which may cause long-term pain and dysfunction. The dentist whose negligence led to this end result is liable for such aftereffects of the jaw fracture as well. Contact us soon to receive the excellent legal representation you deserve.

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.