Lingual Nerve Damage in Extraction of Wisdom Tooth - $1 Million Verdict

The patient/plaintiff in this case, a woman in her early thirties, presented to the defendant for removal of tooth #17, an impacted wisdom tooth. 

The plaintiff alleged permanent lingual nerve damage as a result of the defendant dentist’s negligent removal of a wisdom tooth. She claimed that after the removal, she began experiencing pain, numbness and loss of taste on the left side of her mouth and tongue. She was later diagnosed with a complete transection of the left lingual nerve. The defendant maintained that he used appropriate measures to protect the lingual nerve during the procedure, but the injury was a known risk of the procedure and occurred in the absence of negligence.

The plaintiff’s experts contended that the defendant used an inappropriate incision and failed to protect the lingual nerve. The plaintiff underwent extensive surgery in an attempt to repair the damaged lingual nerve. She contended that her tongue remains numb on the left side, she bites her tongue, has no taste on the left side of her tongue, sometimes has difficulty speaking and suffered damage to her intimate relationship with her husband. The defendant denied negligence. 

At the end of the trial, a jury awarded the plaintiff over $1 million. 

With permission from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts; Lewis Laska, Editor, 901 Church St., Nashville, TN 37203-3411, 1-800-298-6288.