If you have experienced sodium hypochlorite injuries like severe pain or other complications, you might have a dental malpractice case. Accidental over-injections involving NaOCl can lead to serious, even lifelong injuries. Legal representation can help you understand your rights and seek the compensation you deserve.  

Wallace Wason, PLLC are dental malpractice attorneys with a success record in representing patients with NaOCl injuries after a root canal. If you have serious and lasting injuries from a sodium hypochlorite spill or accident, call us for a free case evaluation: (703) 638-7717. 

What is a Root Canal? 

A root canal is a dental procedure to fix a tooth with a deep infection or damage. Soft tissue called the pulp inside each tooth contains nerves and blood vessels. When the pulp gets infected or damaged, it can cause pain and lead to a dental abscess if not treated. A dental abscess is a pocket of bacterial infection at the root tip (a periapical abscess) or along the side of the root (a periodontal abscess). 

Dental care providers may recommend a root canal when:

  1. You have a severe toothache, especially when chewing or applying pressure. 
  2. Your tooth is sensitive to hot or cold, even after the source is removed. 
  3. The gum around the tooth is swollen or tender. 
  4. There is deep decay or a crack in the tooth that affects the pulp.

During a root canal, the dentist removes the infected or damaged pulp, cleans the inside of the tooth, and fills it to prevent further infection. This saves the tooth from being pulled out or “extracted.” 

Root canal treatment aims to remove all connective tissue and destroy any remaining microorganisms. It also seeks to seal the canal to prevent bacteria from returning. Irrigating solutions are an important element of  successful root canal preparation. 

Sodium Hypochlorite Injuries

Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) is often used to irrigate or clean in root canal treatments because it is cheap and effective at killing bacteria and dissolving dead tissue by oxidizing and hydrolyzing cell proteins. 

The downside is, it can be harmful due to its toxic nature; if it gets into nearby tissues, it causes severe pain and requires quick treatment to avoid long-term problems. Also, its toxicity increases with higher concentrations. 

Accidental injection of NaOCl into surrounding tissues can cause severe reactions. Likewise, NaOCl injected into the maxillary sinus or oral mucosa (tissues inside the mouth) can cause serious tissue damage and life-threatening allergic responses.  

Read medical literature about complications following an accidental sodium hypochlorite extrusion.   

Symptoms of Sodium Hypochlorite Injury

When sodium hypochlorite leaks into surrounding tissues during a root canal, it can cause a rapid cascade of symptoms, including: 

  • Taste of Chlorine: A strong, unpleasant taste of chlorine in the mouth. 
  • Severe Pain: Intense, immediate pain at the site of leakage. 
  • Swelling: Rapid swelling of the affected area, which may extend to the face and neck. 
  • Bruising and Discoloration: Bruising or discoloration of the skin and mucosa. 
  • Numbness or Tingling: Nerve damage may cause numbness or a tingling sensation. 
  • Difficulty Swallowing or Breathing: Swelling can lead to difficulty swallowing or breathing – this can be life-threatening.
  • Chemical Burns: Tissue necrosis or burns at the site of exposure. 
  • Infection: Secondary infections may develop in the affected tissues. 

Treatment for Sodium Hypochlorite Injury

Immediate and appropriate treatment is crucial to manage sodium hypochlorite injuries. Thorough irrigation of the affected area with saline solution is essential to dilute and remove as much NaOCl as possible. Close monitoring of the patient is necessary to watch for signs of severe allergic reactions or airway compromise. In severe cases, surgical intervention, such as debridement, may be required to remove necrotic tissue or residual chemicals. Prompt and effective initial treatment can significantly reduce the risk of long-term damage and improve recovery outcomes. 

Pain management involving local anesthesia or painkillers may be administered or prescribed to alleviate severe discomfort. Antibiotics are typically prescribed to prevent or treat secondary infections. To reduce inflammation and swelling, corticosteroids may be administered. Applying cold compresses can also help in reducing swelling. 

Regular follow-up appointments are important to monitor healing and manage any long-term effects. If complications persist or worsen, referral to specialists like an orofacial pain specialist, oral surgeon, or an ENT may be necessary. 

Sodium Hypochlorite Injuries – Dental Malpractice Cases

Wallace Wason PLLC has successfully handled dental malpractice cases where sodium hypochlorite was accidentally over-extruded into the patient’s surrounding tissue causing serious injury.

If you or someone you love has been injured by a dental procedure, leading to injury from sodium hypochlorite (NaCOl), call today for a free case evaluation: (703) 638-7717. 

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