For dental implants to be successful, they need a strong and solid foundation to hold them in place. Sometimes, this means doing additional procedures along with or before the dental implant procedure. One of those procedures is nerve repositioning, which is when the oral surgeon needs to move the inferior alveolar nerve to place a dental implant successfully. Nerve repositioning treatments allow the patient to be relieved of any pain they may otherwise feel in their lower jaw.
At Union City Oral Surgery Group, our team uses specialized techniques to safely reposition the inferior alveolar nerve and ensure our patient’s long-term comfort. Each patient and their condition is different, and we make sure to go the extra mile to ensure we meet our patient’s specific needs and desires. When it comes to your oral health, you can feel confident and comfortable at Union City Oral Surgery Group.
Understanding the Inferior Alveolar Nerve
The inferior alveolar nerve is a collection of nerve fibers that emanate from the mandibular nerve. Located near the lower jawbone, the inferior alveolar nerve crosses to the upper side portion of the mandible and serves as a nerve extension from the mylohyoid muscle that comprises the bottom portion of the oral cavity. The nerve also supplies an extension to the digastric, which is a small muscle directly below the mandible.
The inferior alveolar nerve enters the mandibular canal through the mandibular foramen and provides sensory communication to the bottom row of someone’s teeth. Communication between them passes through a series of branches known as the inferior dental plexus, and they supply sensory information to the teeth, chin, and lower lip.
When is Nerve Repositioning for Dental Implants Necessary?
Nerve repositioning is a procedure reserved for rare cases involving dental implants in the lower jaw. The technique is performed on patients with missing teeth in their lower jaw who do not have enough jawbone above the inferior alveolar nerve to accommodate the implant. The lack of jawbone in the area is typically due to deterioration of the bone due to aging or the absence of teeth in that area for an extended period.
The inferior alveolar nerve receives information on the sensations on a person’s chin and lower lip. It is located in the lower jaw, and as the bone above it deteriorates, the nerve moves closer to the surface of the gum line. To complete the dental implant, the nerve must be repositioned to allow for more space. Failure to reposition the inferior alveolar nerve may cause discomfort and pain. By redlining the nerve, the patient is relieved of pain and allows them to regain comfortable sensation from their lower lip and jaw.
What Does a Nerve Repositioning Procedure Look Like?
Nerve repositioning procedures vary depending on the nature of the patient’s previous treatments and their preferred practices. Traditionally, nerve repositioning occurs in conjunction with a dental implant procedure. The patient is sedated with local anesthesia to ensure the patient’s comfort during the procedure. Once the patient is sedated, the oral surgeon proceeds by making an incision in the outer portion of the patient’s cheek to access the underlying tissue.
Then, the oral surgeon creates a tiny window in the lower mandible to reach the inferior dental nerve. After carefully moving the nerve bundle to the side to avoid contact, the dental implant is placed in the jaw. Following the implant placement, the nerve bundle is moved back into place, the open space is filled with bone graft material, and the incision is closed.
Possible Side Effects of a Nerve Repositioning Procedure
Side effects of any surgical procedure, including nerve repositioning, vary depending on the means used to reposition the nerve. In some cases, a patient may experience swelling, pain, and bruising in their jaw for days following the treatment. It can cause temporary or even permanent numbness in the lower lip and jaw, which is why it’s important to work with a skilled and trusted oral surgeon. They can avoid the worst of the side effects or provide the necessary medication and treatment needed to alleviate any side effects.
How to Prepare for a Nerve Repositioning Procedure
To prepare for a nerve repositioning procedure, you’ll likely need to fast before the surgery. Whether you need to abstain from food and liquids or only food will depend on the treatments you’ve previously had and the doctor’s preferences.
It’s beneficial to dress comfortably on the day of the treatment for your own comfort throughout the procedure. After the surgery is completed, you’ll need someone to drive you home, as the anesthesia will likely still be wearing off.
Two weeks after the surgery, you will likely need to meet with your oral surgeon and dentist to assess the effectiveness of the nerve repositioning procedure.
Contact Union City Oral Surgery Group to Learn More About Nerve Repositioning Today
It’s common to be afraid of dentists or surgeons, especially when it comes to more complicated procedures such as nerve repositioning. At Union City Oral Surgery Group, we elaborate on the nature of the treatments available and ensure that we take the necessary steps to address your needs. We make sure that you have all the necessary information and resources to make informed decisions about your oral health. Our goal is to address your conditions and help you achieve your oral health and cosmetic goals.
Union City Oral Surgery Group can help you fall in love with your smile once more. Contact us today to schedule an appointment by calling (908) 585-4990 or by completing our online contact form to ask any questions you may have about nerve repositioning or any of our other services.