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There are instances when the placement of dental implants is very difficult; one of the reasons for this is when the jaw bone mass is not sufficient to support the placement of the implants. A nerve repositioning procedure can be used in cases when a patient needs to have dental implants placed to address the issue of missing teeth in the lower back portion of the mouth; the positioning of the nerve is essential to make sure that it (the nerve) does not get damaged or even touched during the dental implant placement procedure.
Steps in the Nerve Repositioning Procedure
When it becomes nearly impossible for dental implants to be placed due to insufficient or deteriorating bone mass in the lower jaw area, a nerve repositioning (also called nerve lateralization) may be necessary. This procedure is done in very rare cases, because just the act of moving or repositioning the alveolar nerve (the nerve responsible for the feelings in the lower lip and chin areas) can cause damage. Repositioning the alveolar nerve is also needed so the dental implants can be placed without causing any damage to the nerve. In the rare but necessary instances when nerve repositioning needs to be done, the following steps are made:
- After getting x-rays or CT scans of the area and determining that the patient is eligible for dental implants, and after assessments conclude that a nerve repositioning is necessary, the dental surgeon starts the procedure by making an incision on the lower jaw bone.
- Once the lower jaw bone is cut open and the alveolar nerve has been exposed to view, the nerve is then very carefully positioned outwards, or to the side.
- When the alveolar nerve has been repositioned and moved out of harm’s way, the dental implants can then be placed; placement of the dental implants can be done right after the nerve repositioning, or at a later time.
- Surgical padding or collatape will be placed in between the alveolar nerve and the dental implant, to make sure that there is sufficient cushion and support for the nerve; the padding will also ensure that the nerve will not come into contact with the dental implant that will be placed in the surrounding area.
Nerve repositioning is an effective procedure in paving the way to successful dental implants placement. The risks involved in this procedure should carefully be considered by both the dental surgeon and the patient before the process is even decided on, to ensure that every little detail is covered and addressed. A successful nerve repositioning allows a dental surgeon to go through with a nearly impossible dental implants placement procedure, so that the patient can enjoy his or her dental implants to the fullest.