An Illinois woman has filed a lawsuit against her dentist and dentist assistant in October, 2019, alleging that four wisdom teeth were extracted without informed consent. Just before the surgery occurring in September 2017, the woman alleges that she spoke with the dental assistant about concerns with going forward with the extraction. However, the surgery proceeded and the woman was given general anesthesia. The woman’s boyfriend at the time of the surgery signed of on the informed consent form although there was no legal right to do so.
The dentist was not aware that the woman had nerves that were too close to the wisdom tooth and thus should have required a more complex procedure. The suit says the dentist used an “overly aggressive, improper technique” and “negligently and carelessly failed to properly inform the plaintiff of all the risks.” As a result of the wisdom teeth surgery the woman has faced numerous medical bills from visiting doctors, dentists, neurologists, oral surgeons, medications, and having imaging studies performed. She has suffered permanent damage to her trigeminal nerve and suffers from “constant debilitating migraines, dizziness and vertigo.” The suit mentions that the woman has been diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia by several doctors.
It is alleged that the dentist downplayed the extent of the nerve damage after the surgery and did not provide prompt referral to a specialist to treat nerve damage. The woman is hoping the suit can help prevent the same conduct dentists to other patients. She is seeking over $50,000 in damages which will be used to cover bills, lost wages, and legal fees.
While trigeminal neuralgia, persistent headaches, and dizziness are known risks of wisdom teeth removal, they are not generally disclosed as part of the informed consent process. Typically the lingual nerve and the inferior alveolar nerve are the ones mentioned and the possibility of headaches or dizziness is not mentioned. Such complications as these after wisdom teeth removal has been discussed on the wisdom teeth complications page. A recent post titled Wisdom Teeth Removal Leads to Trigeminal Neuralgia and Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome dysfunction describes another case of trigeminal neuralgia after wisdom teeth extraction. The post Vertigo and Dizziness After Wisdom Teeth Removal describes several cases of vertigo and dizziness after wisdom teeth extractions. Cases of headaches occuring after wisdom teeth surgery are also described elsewhere on this site. Cases of successful lawsuits and settlements after wisdom teeth surgery led to complications and/or were negligence was present are described at http://www.teethremoval.com/dental_malpractice.html.
John Breslin, “Patient alleges wisdom teeth extraction carried out without consent, caused major damage,” Madison – St. Clair Record, Oct. 23, 2019.