Maritime Dental Injuries
Teeth are crucial for eating and speaking, and they also support the facial structure. Though they're tough like bone, teeth are susceptible to being cracked or broken due to mouth and jaw injuries.
Types of Dental Injuries
Most dental injuries suffered by maritime employees are caused by accidental slips and falls, with the worker’s face striking the floor or another hard object. Accidents that occur while using equipment or moving heavy objects may also lead to serious damage.
Some of the most common maritime dental injuries include:
- Broken or chipped teeth. Injury to the mouth may result in chipped or broken teeth. These injuries cause pain and sensitivity while exposing the tooth to decay. Small chips can sometimes be filled, or covered with a veneer or crown. If the tooth is broken, or if the chip is large enough to expose the nerve, a root canal may be needed to preserve the tooth.
- Loose teeth. A blow to the mouth can break a root and loosen a tooth. Loose teeth cause serious pain, making it difficult to eat and chew. Depending on the looseness of the tooth, it may be saved by temporarily bonding it to an adjacent tooth while it heals. In the most severe cases, a root canal or removal of the tooth may be needed.
- Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome. The jaw may also sustain direct trauma due to a blow to the mouth. TMJ syndrome is characterized by localized pain and an inability to move the jaw and mouth. Treatment options can include anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, or professional massage. In the worst cases, injections or complete joint replacement may be required.
Qualifying for Compensation
To qualify under the Jones Act, you must spend at least 30 percent of your working time aboard an operating vessel. The Jones Act allows you to receive compensation for the pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other damages caused by your dental injuries. Seamen are also entitled to maintenance and cure benefits, intended to cover medical expenses, food, and lodging costs.
You need an experienced maritime injury attorney to help you receive the compensation you deserve. To learn more, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by using the form on this page.