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I went to have a wisdom tooth pulled and ended up having a seizure after the dentist injected pain killers. Dental Malpractice?

Philadelphia, PA |

I went to an oral surgeon to get my bottom left wisdom tooth pulled. The surgeon injected Novocaine type of pain killers into the area. Even before the dentist could pull out the entire tooth I had a grand mal seizure 3-4 mins long and was rushed to the hospital emergency room. The ER test showed nothing wrong with all my test. The ER doc said that the Novocaine could have been injected into an artery in my mouth which could have led to the seizure. I'm 39yrs old and have no history of seizures. I'm not allowed to drive till I see a specialist in ref to the seizures. I'm missing time from work and using my own sick time so I can get paid till I get cleared to return to work. My wisdom tooth is still in my mouth and I'm in a lot of pain but now I'm scared to return to a dentist.

Attorney Answers 6


  1. Contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. I would also go see a doctor as soon as possible as well. You want to have documented where the dentist made the injection into your mouth (if possible) to see if the dentist made the injection into an improper spot, if the emergency room did not already. The sooner you contact an attorney about this the better. You may also want to see another dentist so you can have your wisdom teeth fixed since you are in a lot of pain, however speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
    Medical malpractice cases are very complicated and costly. Before a medical malpractice case can be filed another doctor must evaluate the case to see if the the doctor (dentist) that caused the harm deviated from the standard of care that they are required to adhere to. If the doctor/dentist deviated and that deviation caused the harm then a case can proceed. Again, speak with an attorney as soon as possible. My firm handles these matters should you have any questions.
    Best of luck.

    Contact me for further detailed questions and answers. 215-561-0877 DISCLAIMER: Matthew Solomon is licensed to practice law in both the State of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey.This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. This answer does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.


  2. You could have a case but malpractice cases are not based upon a bad or unusual result from a procedure. You need to consult a lawyer who can investigate the case, get the full facts from you and obtain a preliminary opinion from another dentist that there was a violation of the standard of care for the extraction of wisdom teeth and the violation caused the seizure. You would have to remember whether or not you were informed of the risks of anesthesia and the dentists records would be needed. There is definitely enough in your question for me to say that you should consult a lawyer. Dental malpractice, like medical malpractice depends, not only, on proving negligence, but also on having a damage claim that is large enough to warrant the cost and time of the litigation. The law and procedure in Pa. has effectively killed off the small cases handled on a contingent fee, unless there is, "res ipsa loquitur", which means, in effect, that the negligence is obvious. Latin translation: The thing speaks for itself.

    This answer is not intended to be legal advice in a lawyer/client relationship. Misunderstanding of the answer or use of the answer for any illegal purpose is not the responsibility of the writer. The answer to any question in the Avvo website is constrained by the limited content of the question, an incomplete description of the facts underlying the question or a wrongful motivation for the question.


  3. Dental malpractice cases are difficult and expensive. Since you had a seizure, and apparently have no permanent problems, you will have a hard time getting an attorney to take your case because of the limited damages.

    Damages are what drives any malpractice case, and the lack of damages cause most attorneys to shy away from taking these type of cases on.

    Good luck.

    DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.


  4. Sorry to learn. Since you are in Philly the top seizure doctor is Dr. Sperling at Jefferson. Ask him questions about relating the seizure to the novocaine. Good luck. Not every seizure results in loss of driver's license.

    Please note that these answers are provided as a community service and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.


  5. To establish medical or dental malpractice you need to obtain your medical and dental records and have them reviewed by an expert, most likely a dentist. If that expert concludes that your injury resulted from a deviation from accepted standards of care then you may have a malpractice lawsuit.


  6. Unfortunately, this could have been an accepted risk of your procedure. Anaphylactic reactions are not uncommon with local anesthetics. With that being said, your case is worth investigating and you should seek out a malpractice lawyer in your area at once. If you should need any assistance with a referral, contact us at attorney@floridalawgroup.org.

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