Nerve Repositioning

The inferior alveolar nerve, which gives feeling to the lower lip, gums, teeth, 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 called nerve repositioning. 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. Nerve repositioning is considered when bone grafting is not possible, and there is extreme bone loss in the area of potential implants. The nerve is gently moved laterally (out of the jawbone) after being carefully dissected from its bony housing, implants are placed, and the nerve is released back just adjacent to the implants. There is almost always some postoperative numbness of the lower lip and jaw area, which typically dissipates very slowly, but may be permanent. Often minor bone grafting is also required. Nerve repositioning is typically performed at the same time implants are placed and in the office setting under IV sedation or general anesthesia. One week recovery is generally recommended.