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How Much are Tongues Worth?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the silence-is-golden-but-gold-plated-tongues-are-$$$ dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 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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Huh? (2, Funny)

avalys (221114) | more than 11 years ago | (#5638119)

Slashdot - News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters. Tongue prices.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5638449)


Re:Huh? (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 11 years ago | (#5641897)

No no no...

Thathdot - Newth for Nerth, fluff that Matterth

It all depends on their exposure. (1)

tssparky (514747) | more than 11 years ago | (#5638137)

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.

Numb Tongue? (5, Funny)

toygeek (473120) | more than 11 years ago | (#5638145)

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.

Re:Numb Tongue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5640160)

This is the funniest Slashdot post I think I've ever read, seriously. Too bad I used up all my mod points last night. :(

Well done, Toygeek.

Re:Numb Tongue? (1)

dberger (44485) | more than 11 years ago | (#5641121)

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...


Re:Numb Tongue? (1)

mbstone (457308) | more than 11 years ago | (#5642318)

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.

Something similar happened to me... (3, Informative)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 11 years ago | (#5638342)

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.

Re:Something similar happened to me... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5638740)

Someday quite a lot of us are going to have baby boys in the US, the the doctor is going to want to circumcise the little bastard.

He'll say no problem, the baby won't feel a thing, we numb things up. Now, you have found out that anesthesia can cause nerve damage. How would it be to have a numb dick? How much is a penis worth?

Just tell that doctor to stick that knife in his ass.

Re:Something similar happened to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5654730)

He'll say no problem, the baby won't feel a thing, we numb things up. Now, you have found out that anesthesia can cause nerve damage. How would it be to have a numb dick? How much is a penis worth?

But damn, imagine how impressed the women would be at how long you could last (provided you could get it up in the first place, of course).

Statute of limitations? (1)

VisorGuy (548245) | more than 11 years ago | (#5638350)

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.

this obviously is april fools (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5638363)

i mean who would post this on /. anyway? If they won't post a story about the guy who invented the first portable computer dying, they surely wouldn't post the pricing of tongue lawsuits

Bite your tongue and wait.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5638683)

Ask Slashdot, Am I retarded?

Re:Bite your tongue and wait.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5640267)

All signs point to yes.

Consider your self lucky (1, Funny)

Dirty_Sanches (619600) | more than 11 years ago | (#5638376)

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.

Piercings... (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 11 years ago | (#5638378)

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 foolish to me.

Re:Piercings... (1)

Finni (23475) | more than 11 years ago | (#5639180)

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.

Re:Piercings... (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 11 years ago | (#5639279)

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.

Re:Piercings... (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 11 years ago | (#5639597)

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 heat over her face in various parts for no aparent reason.

She didnt have a single problem with her tongue ironically.
Once she spoke to a doctor about it, he explained what most likely happened (the nerve thing) and told her to take out the bar for a day or two.
She did and almost instantly all the problems went away.

Ended up letting the hole close up and redoing it later at a reputable place.

Re:Piercings... (1)

vena (318873) | more than 11 years ago | (#5639991)

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, cigarette, kissing, anything that involves mouth contact with a foreign object. after the piercing is healed, there's little chance of infection because the tongue has healed around the barbell.

Of course there could be complications (1)

A55M0NKEY (554964) | more than 11 years ago | (#5644562)

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 sinuses and half your face. Mucor is another one. Frikken flesh eating bacteria too! They'll eat you alive for crissakes! And you want to put a hole in your tongue that could let them in???!!?!?!?!

On the otherhand, alot of guys appreciate a girl with a tongue ring iffya know what I mean..

suing... (2, Informative)

kevin lyda (4803) | more than 11 years ago | (#5638396)

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.

Re:suing... and Informed Consent (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5638572)

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 nearby that got injured and injected into directly rather than right next to it. Maybe too much anesthetic agent was injected into it which may lead to irreparable harm from increased pressure within the nerve sheath.

The question is whether this really constitutes malpractice or is an accident. If this dentist does this consistently, maybe it's not so much of an accident. Maybe if your anatomy or physiology is different, there is no way that this could have been avoided. Maybe every dentist uses the same landmarks to target where to inject the anesthetic, and they would all have gone to the same place anyway. In that case, this truly is accidental and not malpractice. Tough call. But I'd also have to lean on the side of not suing.

Let me guess... (1)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 11 years ago | (#5638472)

this is one of those "funny" April Fools stories, isn't it?

Huh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5638508)

April fools aside seems like this really happens [] .

Re:Huh.. (1)

hero (25043) | more than 11 years ago | (#5638568)

Nice Y2K bug in one of the replies to that post:

"Posted by Linda on February 13, 19100 at 08:16:54:"

Anyway, you're right, it does seem like this happens. I had all of my wisdom teeth removed without any adverse effects, besides vomiting up a bunch of blood and junk after the surgery (yay! but I hear that's normal). I would be seriously pissed if I was constantly drooling because I couldn't drink properly with a numb tongue, imagine how many keyboards I'd ruin!


Not a troll, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5638534)


Re:Not a troll, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5638565)

Just because you put it in your subject line don't make it true....

Re:Not a troll, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5642443)

You wouldn't be saying that if you had the $50,000 a month work-at-home income and enlarged penis (length and girth!) that I had!

Call a lawyer (1)

Alpha27 (211269) | more than 11 years ago | (#5638583)

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.

Re:Call a lawyer (kicking self) (1)

Alpha27 (211269) | more than 11 years ago | (#5639657)

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.

Sue sue sue! (1)

kendoka (473386) | more than 11 years ago | (#5638596)

Dude, I'd hella sue their ass...

fuck them, they make a shitload of money. To lose half your tongue - screw that...

It's worth pretty much... (1)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 11 years ago | (#5638660)

...especially for these girls [] . ;-)~

Would I sue? (1)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 11 years ago | (#5638681)

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?? - Hell yeah! (1)

QuietRiot (16908) | more than 11 years ago | (#5638696)

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!

A toungue is worth (1)

PD (9577) | more than 11 years ago | (#5638758)

(pinky to corner of mouth)

a MILLION dollars!

I would go on Fear Factor (1)

Radical Rad (138892) | more than 11 years ago | (#5638902)

Cause there's always one round where you have to eat pig tripe or something.

We're not lawyers (1)

bellings (137948) | more than 11 years ago | (#5639126)

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.

Perhaps a big settlement (2, Funny)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 11 years ago | (#5639175)

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!


Did the dentist explain the risks? (1)

vaguelyamused (535377) | more than 11 years ago | (#5639403)

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 burden of ensuring consent is informed is on the dentist, not the patient. "Informed consent" is the legal standard required prior to any procedure, especially elective ones. This argument of course is usually facetious as most people would have consented even if the risks would have been explained (blah, blah, blah, sign the form, get it over with). All the same you should talk to a lawyer but you probably have a good case that'll never make it to court (they'll settle). On whether it was an honest mistake our bad practice would require some research. Go to a college library and look in some dental manuals, medical texts, journal articles, etc. and see if there was any way to prevent this and how often it happens. If it was an honest mistake that sometimes just happens you may think twice about suing, if the dentists was neglectful stick it to him.

Nerve injuries take FOREVER to heal (1)

sclatter (65697) | more than 11 years ago | (#5639772)

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 of her face was drooping, like she was some sort of stroke victim. It was terrible looking! This may sound trivial but she was a very valuable show horse at the time so it was rather alarming. Her face eventually went back to normal, but not for many, many months.

I do think you should talk to the dentist about getting a refund, though. Filing suit seems like overkill, though.


Jar-Jar? (1)

codexus (538087) | more than 11 years ago | (#5639825)

Is that you? I told you not to touch that energy beam.

Man (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 11 years ago | (#5640033)

How do you eat pussy???

There is at least one site related to this topic (1)

B9DV8 (96776) | more than 11 years ago | (#5640174) []

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.

Re:There is at least one site related to this topi (1)

A55M0NKEY (554964) | more than 11 years ago | (#5644622)

They should still use CO-CAINE. What's with this Nova-Caine and Arti-Caine. Enough of this smoke from the leaves, for a toothache you need the juice from the root.

How much is skin worth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5643272)

I've got this, but over my entire body. I was exposed to insecticide when I was 13 years old. Now I've lost 90% of the sensation in the skin over my entire body. The docter doesn't believe me, the neurologist thinks I'm a headcase, what am I to do?

Were you warned? (0, Troll)

A55M0NKEY (554964) | more than 11 years ago | (#5644426)

My wife was referred to an oral surgeon to have her wisdom teeth which had never grown in, but were crooked taken out. The dentist referred her because wisdom teeth like that increase the risk of gum disease.

However, the oral surgeon reccomended against having the wisdom teeth removed unless they were causing pain because the x-rays showed that a nerve that runs along the jaw was atypically close to where the wisdom teeth were in her jaw so there was a risk that he could damage it in the tooth extraction leaving her face numb for the rest of her life.

Since the wisdom teeth were not painful, she decided not to have the wisdom teeth removed.

I would say that as long as you were informed of the possible risks, then you can't expect SH*T never to happen, it does. But you should have at least been told of a risk if there was one. Of course some things that happen are completely unforseeable. Maybe the tongue thing is completely freaky and could not be expected. Anyhow, I would sue anyway because the guy has malpractice insurance and even if he did nothing wrong you should still claim your free money. I mean, if you don't have it his insurance company will. Wouldn't you rather have the dough than let his Ins company keep it? Get one of those TV lawyers that get paid when they win.

Of course that would drive up malpractice insurance rates slightly and that cost in turn would be passed on to patients through higher health insurance rates, but come on - If I can get ten grand for a numb tongue I don't give a tinker's damn about the 1/100 of a cent extra everyone else has to pay for health insurance, I'm getting my free Kia. I wouldn't expect anybody else to give up $10000 bucks for the 'cause of lower health insurance rates' and I certainly wouldn't give up $10000 easy bucks either.

If a cat got my tongue (1)

sassy_duchess (663418) | more than 11 years ago | (#5648459)

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!

happend to me too (1)

woo5 (630980) | more than 11 years ago | (#5651310)

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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