Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Knowledgeable Dental Malpractice Attorney Based in Rockland County

The temporomandibular joint is a complex hinge connecting a person's jaw to their temporal skull bones. This joint allows a person to move the jaw up and down and to each side for the purposes of chewing, yawning, and talking. Temporomandibular joint disorders involve problems with the jaws and facial muscles. Sometimes these disorders are caused by whiplash, arthritis, teeth grinding, or stress. However, in some cases, faulty dentistry is to blame for temporomandibular joint disorder. In some cases, it may be a result of a failure to treat complications following a procedure. If you suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder that you suspect was a result of dental malpractice, you should contact Rockland County dental malpractice lawyer Valerie J. Crown. She will make sure to offer the compassionate and personalized guidance that you need during this challenging time. Valerie makes herself available to clients through her cell phone at any hour of day or night, and she works directly with each injured person who seeks her help.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder Caused by Negligence

Temporomandibular joint disorder can trigger serious pain and discomfort, sometimes lasting for many years and affecting one half of the face or both. Symptoms of the disorder include pain and tenderness in the jaw, neck, and shoulders, as well as difficulties opening the mouth wide, jaws getting stuck while open or closed, and clicking or popping in the jaw joint. Sometimes people who suffer from this disorder develop swelling in the jaws, toothaches, earaches, hearing problems or tinnitus, and an uncomfortable bite.

If you develop temporomandibular joint disorder soon after having a dental procedure performed, you should consult an attorney about whether it is a result of dental malpractice. In New York, to recover dental malpractice damages, a plaintiff must establish the dentist's duty toward them as a patient, the dentist's breach of duty, a causal connection between the breach and the plaintiff's injuries, and actual damages.

Dentists and other dental professionals are held to the professional standard of care of other dentists in their community. They must perform their duties in accordance with the prevailing standards and practices of the dental community within their specialty. An expert can testify as to what the professional standard of care is and whether a particular dentist or other dental professional breached that standard. Not all injuries arise from malpractice, so it is crucial to retain an experienced and credible expert, ideally in the same specialty as the defendant.

When a dental professional misdiagnoses, fails to diagnose, delays in diagnosing, fails to monitor, fails to obtain informed consent, misuses dental tools, makes a mistake during surgery, or otherwise provides improper treatment to a patient, serious injuries such as temporomandibular joint disorder may result.

To qualify as an expert witness in New York, a health care professional needs to show that they gained their expertise from actual experience, observation, or study. A dentist need not have an active clinical practice in the State of New York in order to qualify.

Your attorney may be able to recover compensatory damages if you developed temporomandibular joint disorder due to a dentist's negligence, incompetence, or intentional wrongdoing. Compensatory damages may include both economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses are tangible losses, often documented and usually financial, such as medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses. You will need to prove the reasonableness and necessity of any expenses for which you seek reimbursement. Noneconomic damages serve to compensate for less quantifiable losses, such as loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.

It is rare for punitive damages to be awarded. These are damages awarded to deter and punish particularly egregious conduct. However, it probably would be possible to recover a punitive damages award in a case of intentional or malicious actions by a dentist that resulted in temporomandibular joint disorder.

Discuss Your Injury Claim with a Rockland County Attorney

You may be able to recover damages from a dentist if you suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder due to the dentist’s negligence. Call the Rockland County law firm of Valerie J. Crown, Attorney at Law, P.C. at 845-708-5900 or call Valerie’s cell phone at 845-598-8253. You can also contact us online to discuss your case with an injury attorney. We provide representation to patients in Rockland, Westchester, Dutchess, Ulster, and Orange Counties as well as New York City.