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 is indicated when teeth are missing in the area of the two back molars and/or and second premolar, with significant bone loss in the area. Since this procedure is considered a very aggressive approach (there is almost always some postoperative numbness of the lower lip and jaw area, which dissipates only very slowly, if ever), less aggressive options are ALWAYS considered first.
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. Once the nerve has been repositioned, the dental implants are placed. Once the implants are in position, the nerve 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.
These surgeries are performed in the out-office surgical suite under IV sedation or general anesthesia.