For many wisdom teeth surgery means having surgery for an hour or so, resting up at home and eating a restricted diet for a few days at home afterwards, and then getting back on with their normal life. However, wisdom teeth removal does not always go to plan and many suffer from complications, such as described at http://www.teethremoval.com/complications.html. For some of these people, the complications can be very life altering and life changing. They may even mean life as it once was will never be the same. Many patients who suffer from complications file civil lawsuits and sue in an attempt to be awarded damages including money.
Cases of personal injuries after wisdom teeth are described at http://www.teethremoval.com/dental_malpractice.html. Other examples of these cases have been discussed in past blog posts such as Was Wisdom Teeth Removal Performed Without Consent that Lead to Trigeminal Nerve Damage, Migraines, and Dizziness?, Wisdom Teeth Removal Death in 2016 in Florida: Settlement Reached, and Four and half million settlement in wisdom teeth extraction death. In many of these cases settlements are reached out of court, while in other cases a jury will award damages. These cases unfortunately tend to follow a somewhat predictable pattern. For example a typical case looks like a patient died while having wisdom teeth removed and then the surviving family was awarded over a million dollars. Other typical cases involve the lingual nerve being damaged during wisdom teeth extraction which leads to permanent numbness, alteration in taste, and pain to the lip, chin, mouth, and tongue areas. These cases often result in settlements or verdicts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Another typical case involves brain damage leading to neurological problems which can result in settlements in the millions.
Reading through such cases and hearing about them in the news one may think that it is easy to be awarded money after a wisdom teeth complication occurs. But this is actually not the case and there is a lot of pain associated with dental malpractice (Chicago Tribune, “Pain of dental malpractice”, Christopher Weber, Feb. 19, 2008). Over 90% of verdicts that actually reach trial where patients sue an oral surgeon are won by the oral surgeon and not the patient. Only around 10% of claims even reach trial. In addition to this, damage caps as described in http://www.teethremoval.com/legal_standpoint.html can drastically limit the amount of money ever seen by a patient who wins a suit against an oral surgeon. For example, in California a state where a $250,000 non-economic damage cap exists, these damages are capped at this amount and even if awarded are never actually recoverable. Since it can be difficult for patients, a past post on this site titled the Defensive Patients Guide to Wisdom Teeth Removal provides some steps to take to help protect the patient from losing a legitimate lawsuit filed against the physician. Patients also of course need to be represented by a competent personal injury attorney. Following these steps can help patients feel whole if things don’t go to plan during wisdom teeth surgery.
For patients who suffer terrible complications such as brain injury after wisdom teeth surgery and are not awarded any damages they may have to rely on donations or potentially live a life of poverty and misery. For example, in one case a 21 year old woman had wisdom teeth extracted in March 2018 and went into cardiac arrest and suffered brain injury. Shen then spent the next month in intensive care and the next seven months in a rehabilitation center. This has been discussed in a past post titled Twenty one year old woman improving after wisdom teeth removal caused brain injury. An online raffle was set up to help her pay for her physical therapy sessions. A recent update to this woman’s progress on getting back on her feet after her wisdom teeth removal (KSNT, “TO HELL AND BACK: Local woman back on her feet after getting brain injury during wisdom teeth removal,” McKenzi Davis, Dec. 28, 2020), describes how now at 23 she is still learning basic life skills again like walking and talking. However, she has persevered and is now able to stand on her own, walk, and speak full sentences. She also is now happily married and living in a house with her husband on her own. However, she did have to rely on numerous fundraises along the way on her path of recovery.
Life changing personal injuries can occur for those having wisdom teeth surgery. It is best to educate yourself on what can happen and how to put yourself in the best position to recover if it were to unfortunately happen to you.