The inferior alveolar nerve, which gives feeling to the lower lip and chin, may need to be moved in order to make room for the placement of dental implants in the lower jaw. This procedure is limited to the lower jaw and may be indicated when teeth are missing in the area of the two back molars and/or second premolars. This procedure is considered a very aggressive approach since there is almost always some postoperative numbness of the lower lip and jaw area, which typically dissipates very slowly, but may be permanent. Usually other, less aggressive options are considered first.
Typically, we remove an outer section of the bone on the side of the lower jaw bone in order to expose the nerve and vessel canal. We then isolate the nerve and vessel bundle in that area and slightly pull it out to the side. We then place the implants while tracking the neuro-vascular bundle. Then the 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.
This surgery is typically performed either in the office or an operating room under anesthesia. This will depend on the extent of the procedure and your health status. After discharge, bed rest is recommended for one day, as well as limited physical activity for one week.