Posted on 1/25/2021 by Andrew Horowitz, DMD, MD, FACS
Nerve repositioning involves repositioning the inferior alveolar nerve in the jaw. The following information details why this type of procedure may be performed.
Preparing a Patient for Implants - Why Nerve Repositioning May Be Recommended
To realize a successful outcome for placing implants, the implant site's structure must first be evaluated. In some cases, we may determine that the inferior alveolar nerve should be repositioned. This nerve, which spans along the lower jaw, controls the sensations in a patient's chin and lower lip. In some cases, nerve repositioning, also called nerve lateralization, must be performed to avoid serious complications from an implant procedure. Any patient who has an inadequate amount of bone or does not have enough space between the inferior alveolar nerve and jawbone may be a good candidate for a nerve repositioning procedure.
An Example of When Nerve Repositioning May be Recommended
If we see a patient who needs to have an implant to replace a missing molar toward the back of the lower jaw, we will carefully examine the space between the bone and nerve. Perhaps, bone grafting is not an alternative. In this case, we will need to determine if enough space surrounds the inferior alveolar nerve to go ahead with the implant. If there is not enough space, the implant may encounter the nerve. If this happens, the patient may later complain of numbness or pain or another serious issue. To avoid this from happening, we will recommend nerve repositioning. By using a CBCT (cone-beam CT) scan, we can take a 360-degree image of the teeth and jaws to help us with nerve repositioning and placing an implant. This will give us the information we need to ensure all implants are placed successfully without further complications.
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