When is Nerve Repositioning for Dental Implants Necessary?

Nerve repositioning, or nerve lateralization, is reserved for the rarest cases involving dental implants in the lower jaw. This technique is performed when a patient has missing teeth in the lower jaw and does not have enough jaw bone above the jaw nerve (inferior alveolar nerve) to accommodate the implant. The lack of jaw bone is usually a result of deterioration of the bone due to aging or possibly from the absence of teeth in that area for an extended period of time. The inferior alveolar nerve is located in the lower jaw, and as the bone above it deteriorates, the nerve moves closer to the surface of the gum line. The nerve must then be repositioned to allow for more space to complete the dental implant.

In order to move the nerve aside, an outer section of the bone in the area of the lower jaw must be removed to expose the nerve bundle and vessel canal. The nerve is temporarily moved aside and the implants are placed. The nerve bundle is then released and placed back over the implant, and the surgical incision is filled with bone graft material and closed.

Nerve repositioning is extremely aggressive and can have negative side effects such as temporary or even permanent numbness in the lower lip and jaw. That’s why the experienced surgeons of Face and Jaw Surgery Center will always consider alternative solutions before going forward with the nerve repositioning procedure.

Alternatives to Nerve Repositioning

These are effective alternatives to nerve repositioning:

  • Bone Grafting – This is a process in which the dentist uses bone grafts to build up a deteriorated or damaged jaw bone. A bone grafting procedure will build more height above the inferior alveolar nerve and can eliminate the need for nerve repositioning surgery. Bone grafts can come from the patient’s own body, from a cadaver or through the use of synthetic materials. Factors from the patient’s own blood can be used to accelerate and promote bone formation in graft areas.
  • Multiple Splinted Short Implants — When appropriate, many shorter implants can be placed in the area of missing teeth. Those implants are splinted together to give them strength.Ridge Split or Sandwich — The jaw bone can be split horizontally or vertically to augment its width or height. All above mentioned procedures are performed under intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.
  • Conventional Bridges and Dentures – If not a good implant candidate, a patient’s only viable option may be the use of conventional dentures or bridges.

No-Obligation Consultation

Schedule a no-obligation consultation about building up your jaw bone for dental implants with the experienced surgeons at Face and Jaw Surgery Center at one of our four, convenient North Dakota locations. Our surgeons are specially trained in oral and jaw surgery and have performed thousands of dental implants and jaw bone-building surgeries. They can evaluate your dental needs and recommend the most effective treatment plan.

Face and Jaw Surgery Center serves all of North Dakota and North West Minnesota including Moorhead, MN and East Grand Forks, MN.

Bismarck, ND office

Fargo, ND office

Grand Forks, ND office

Minot, ND office