The inferior alveolar nerve which gives feeling to the lower lip and chin may need to be moved in order to make room for placement of dental implants to the lower jaw. This procedure is limited to the lower jaw and indicated when teeth are missing in the area of the two back molars and/or and second premolar, with the above-mentioned secondary condition. Since this procedure is often a more aggressive approach to placing dental implants compared to bone grafting. The main risk associated with the procedure is an injury to the nerve that allows patients to feel with the lower lip, chin, teeth gums, and tongue. Injury to the nerve can result in temporary or permanent alterations in sensation. Bone grafting may carry a lower risk of injury of the nerve, so each procedure needs to be considered from a risk-benefit perspective.
Typically we remove an outer section of the cheek side of the lower jawbone in order to expose the nerve and vessel canal. Then we isolate the nerve and vessel bundle in that area and slightly pull it out to the side. At the same time, we place the implants, we’ll be tracking the neuro-vascular bundle. Then the bundle is released and placed back over the implants. The surgical access is refilled with bone graft material of the surgeon’s choice and the area is closed.
Nerve repositioning surgery is most often completed in the operating room setting under general anesthesia.