Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Follows Molar Extraction – New York Defense Verdict

The plaintiff/patient, in his mid-twenties, underwent extraction of tooth 32 in December 2005. The plaintiff claimed that his jaw developed residual pain and temporomandibular joint disorder, which impairs its functionality. The plaintiff underwent arthrocentesis in April 2008 and claimed that additional surgery could be necessary. The plaintiff also maintained that his injury caused spasms, difficulty in moving his jaw, and an inability to chew many foods. The plaintiff contended that the extraction was complicated by an angulation of the tooth’s roots which would have been noted if a proper x-ray had been performed. The plaintiff also contended that the defendant applied excessive force in the extraction and that sectioning of the tooth should have been used for the extraction.

The defendant claimed that the tooth was easily extracted with application of a routine degree of force and that the techniques the plaintiff claimed should have been used were not necessary. The defendant claimed that a proper radiological image had been obtained, but was lost after the extraction was performed. The defendant also contended that the plaintiff’s complaints were a known complication of the procedure. The defendant also argued that the plaintiff had suffered prior trauma to his face and head and that the trauma increased the plaintiff’s susceptibility to temporomandibular joint disorder.

A defense verdict was returned.

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