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How Much are Tongues Worth? 50

chewedtoothpick asks: "How many of you have had dental work where they had to numb your tongue and everything? I did about six months ago and my tongue never became UN-numb. Aparently they hit a nerve, which seldom occurs and shouldn't happen according to a few dentists and a family member who is an oral surgeon. The dentist told me that it can take as long as six months to heal, but I have also heard from a few people which this has happened to; that if it's not normal within a couple of months that it will never come back. I know one lady who is a regular client at my shop who has had a numb tongue for almost 10 years! Luckily; in my case, this is only half of my tongue, so I am not completely impaired in speech or taste. What I do want to know is what would all or any of you do? Would you sue, and how much for? Would you demand a full refund for the dental work?"
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How Much are Tongues Worth?

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  • Huh? (Score:3, Funny)

    by avalys ( 221114 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @11:57AM (#5638119)
    Slashdot - News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters. Tongue prices.

  • I need to have my wisdom teeth removed, and they showed me a video of what can potentially happen to you as a side-effect. If they have let you know that this is something that can affect you, they might be covered. At most you might be able to get them to pay to get you some kind of help to get your tounge back to normal.

    What kind of procedure was this? A cleaning, a cavity filling, root canal, etc? This might help or hurt your case.

    *whew* avoided all juvenile references and jokes relating to the topic.
  • by toygeek ( 473120 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @12:07PM (#5638145) Homepage Journal
    Theriouthly, I would thue the cwap out of any dentitht that put a thot in my tongue and made it numb. Any thtupid thod that thought he could get away with that and not get thued, would be theriothly mithtaken.

    All jesting aside, I would do some serieous research of PAST cases of this happening, because it may or may not be a matter of malpractice. You really need to talk to a lawyer about this, not slashdot.
    • I haven't laughed out loud at a /. post in ages - the people I work with are looking at me like I'm a mad man...

      That's awesome...

    • Altho theriouthly, conthult a thythter ath thoon ath pothible tho that you don't mith the thatute of limitationth and wind up thit out of luck.
  • by SoCalChris ( 573049 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @12:43PM (#5638342) Journal
    Several years ago, I was getting a cavity filled. The dentist started drilling, but I could feel them drilling, so I told him and he gave me a second shot of novacain (Or whatever it is they use). After the second shot, my whole jaw went numb for about a day, but after I got the feeling back everywhere else, I still had a numb spot about 2 inches in diameter on my chin. It lasted for about eight months before I finally got feeling back. So don't worry too much about it lasting over 6 months. Just when I thought I was never going to get feeling back in that part of my chin, I got it back.
  • IANAL. I seriously suggest you talk to a lawyer about this to determine the statute of limitations on such a case.
    If it were me, I'd probably wait until close to the statue of limitations to see if my tongue returns to normal, but if not, then I'd develop my case.

  • There are many occasions where you will find numb tongue to be a blessing. Like the mariad of occasions youre tongue will end up in peoples asses as you find your self propagating through the corporate food chain.

  • This raises an interesting question in my mind: How many people who have received tongue piercings have had complications?

    After all, you are punching a hole through a body part that spends all of its time in a wet place full of food and other items, plenty of bacteria, and that moves around enough to push all of that into the hole.

    It's one thing to inject drugs into the tongue to numb it during required oral surgery, but to put a permanent hole in it for cosmetic and sexual reasons seems just a bit foolis
    • No problem with mine - supposedly, the tongue is one of the fastest-healing parts of the body. Think about it, most of the mucous-membrane tissue has to be pretty robust, it's always in contact with foreign matter.
    • I know a couple people who have had complications.

      One got an infection, the other basically destroyed a few of her molars by biting on the tongue ring.

      As far as the infection goes, apparently tongue piercings are the most likely to get infected. They are particularly troublesome because they can be fatal (due to the proximity of your tongue to your brain).

      I'm not too surprised about the teeth chipping, either.
    • I knew a person that got a tongue peircing, and not at a good professionals (She was 16 at the time, so it was technically illegal for her to get it without parents permission)

      Aparently the pierce went through a nerve, and the bar placed in the hole kept the nerve from healing.
      She had no idea that happened thou for a few weeks when all sorts of wierd things were happening.

      She would smell something for a moment and it would disapear.. No one else would have smelled anything at all.
      She would feel flashes of
    • your mouth really isn't as dirty as you'd think, saliva is actually quite antibacterial. that said, it is pretty difficult to get an infection from a tongue piercing if you take care of it. unfortunately, some people who get piercings are not willing to clean them regularly or take the necessary precautions while healing.

      a tongue piercing heals much more quickly than other piercings, usually within a month, but during that time you have to rinse your mouth out with an oral antiseptic after every meal, c
    • I mean who knows what is living on that BK burger you're gonna snarf for lunch? Your frikken tongue could start to rot, and taste like compost spreading to your jawbone and face. To prevent certain death and blood poisoning they would probably have to remove your lower jaw leaving you a grotesque jawless tongueless freak for the rest of your life.

      You can inhale the wrong strain of Aspergillis ( bread mold ) and POOF! you have a deadly infection in your nose that forces doctors to remove your nose and sinu

  • suing... (Score:3, Informative)

    by kevin lyda ( 4803 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @12:49PM (#5638396) Homepage
    people look different on the outside - they're also different on the inside. depending on the dental work you're having done, a dentist will inject anesthesia into different parts of your mouth based on how *most* people are built.

    sometimes they miss and sometimes your nerves are wired differently. that's why a dentist checks to see if a location is numb before working - even if they got it exactly spot on where they were taught to get it, that might not be the right spot for that patient.

    so yeah, it's a bummer you have a numb tongue. that must really suck. but it is a possible side effect. if it was me i wouldn't sue, it's not really the guy's fault from what i've been told in the past.

    note, i'm not a dentist, but i worked in a dental school and some of the students and the staff would explain how things worked.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Good answer, well thought out, just what I was thinking myself. Every medical and surgical procedure has risks inherent to it, and individual differences in anatomy are just one part of it. There may be individual differences in the pharmacology or pharmacokinetics of the anesthetic agent (your body's receptors may be genetically different or the mechanisms for clearing out the local anesthetic may be altered, e.g. different binding in your liver enzymes), there could be an anomalous branch of a nerve nea
  • this is one of those "funny" April Fools stories, isn't it?
  • Why is it people think it's ok to ask the general public for advice? Look, you're seriously better off asking a doctor/dentist who isn't affiliated to the dentist who did the work, AND a lawyer who specializes in malpractice.

    If you think asking a general populice would help, it probably won't. You will get a mixture of rights, wrongs and half truths. Go to a certifible source and get a real answer.
    • doh! danm those april fool's submissions. But if parrot was a joke that become reality, it's still possible for someone to ask the slashdot community about their tongue, and show up on the cnn site for winning millions of dollars from a dentist for malpractice.

      As the plaintiff walks out of the court house, with the verdict in his favor, he screams out loud "yhes, reams weely cumm truuu" while splatting spit on the crowd.
  • Dude, I'd hella sue their ass...

    fuck them, they make a shitload of money. To lose half your tongue - screw that...
  • ...especially for these girls []. ;-)~
  • no. For me personally, I understand there is a certain amount of risk involved (with medical proceedures, etc) for a moderate level of, say...complications.

    We are all (mostly all of us) human, and little shit happens. As you get older you will find all sorts of examples of your own body malfunctioning in new and anoying, surprising and embarasing ways.

    How if you (1) were a public speaker and now could not; or (2) were "the" giggalo to hollywood starlets, I could see you having a case...maybe.
  • Would you demand a full refund for the dental work?

    I'd ask 'em for a mouth full of gold crowns if your tongue doesn't regain sensitivity in another month. If palladium, or a base-metal alloy (nickel or chromium) are more your style, those are availible too!
  • (pinky to corner of mouth)

    a MILLION dollars!
  • Cause there's always one round where you have to eat pig tripe or something.
  • We're neither dentists nor lawyers here. You might have much better luck posting on a site where most of the readers have a strong understanding of standard dentistry, medical malpractice law, and how this type of thing is handled in your state.

    For example, you might want to try fark [] or msdn [], since those sites seem to have better medical malpractice information than Slashdot does.
  • by GuyMannDude ( 574364 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @02:22PM (#5639175) Journal

    You could be looking at a big settlement if you sue. In addition to the loss of taste and speaking ability, you can claim significant emotional damages if your girlfriend leaves you because you can't *ahem* satisfy her needs anymore. Being a regular slashdot reader will prove -- beyond a shadow of a doubt -- that you need to do everything in your power to hold on to any girlfriend that you might obtain by chance. Thus, the loss of fine motor control of your tongue could banish you to a life of living in your mother's downstairs basement!


  • I think a key to any case you would attempt against the dentist would depend on whether or how he explained the risks of the procedure to you before you consented. In order for you to make an "informed consent" to a procedure the practicioner must explain the major risks/poss. complications of a procedure. If he didn't do this than you will be able to argue that you may not have consented to the procedure had you been fully informed of the risks and in fact were not able to give "informed consent". The b
  • I've had some nerve injuries that caused numbness and tingling in my feet that took the better part of a year to heal. (The causes were getting stomped by a horse and really bad snowboard boots.) I'd say hope is far from lost for your tongue.

    But my weirdest nerve injury story was actually from one of my horses. She had a bunch of work done under heavy sedation. Evidently while she was doped up she leaned onto her halter and damaged the nerves in her face. The next day when I came out to ride her half
  • Is that you? I told you not to touch that energy beam.
  • How do you eat pussy???

  • []

    and This from a discussion group.

    From: Dr. Tim Hart

    Your dentist may have used an anesthetic called "articaine". While this anesthetic is extremely effective for infiltration injections, it is a bit risky for block anesthesia (i.e. lower injections for molars). Your prolonged anesthesia should, "eventually", disappear.

    Standard Not a Doctor or Lawyer Disclaimer, so take above with a big grain of salt.
  • Although I'm sure that the dentist did not mean for this to happen, I believe you are entitled to compensation for the loss of feeling in your tongue if it ends up being permanent. I know I certainly wouldn't be happy losing feeling in my tongue for the rest of my life. Think of all the pleasurable experiences you'd miss out on!
  • Half of my tongue was numb for 9 month. It came back completely. BUT my dentist claimed that if the whole tongue goes numb then you may need surgery. On the other hand she also claimed that the numbness would leave in 3 month. In your case it would ask a second dentist/doctor. Good luck

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