Oral Surgery for Nerve Repositioning

Oral Surgery for Nerve Repositioning

Oral Surgery for Nerve Repositioning

A successful oral surgery yields a good long-term outcome with zero complications, both during and after surgery. This means that the dentist that performs the surgery has to leave the structures surrounding the surgical site healthy and intact. This is the rationale behind nerve repositioning.

So, what is nerve repositioning and when does it come into play?

The role of nerve repositioning in oral surgery

The term nerve repositioning describes the process of moving a nerve out of the way in order to facilitate some kind of oral surgery. More specifically, nerve repositioning targets the nerve responsible for sensation in the chin and lower lip. This nerve, which runs along the lower jaw, is known as the lower alveolar nerve. The question is: Why would anyone want to reposition a nerve?

Nerve repositioning may become necessary during oral surgery that happens at the back of the lower jaw. The location of the inferior alveolar nerve may be the perfect spot for a dental implant or bone graft. To avoid injury to the nerve, an oral surgeon will reposition the nerve bundle prior to oral surgery.

Nerve repositioning is not always a necessary part of oral surgery. So, under what circumstances would a dentist recommend the procedure?

Who is a candidate for nerve repositioning?

Preparation for an oral surgery includes an exhaustive exam of the patient’s teeth, mouth and jaws. A dentist will order medical imaging tests to map out the positions and alignment of different structures that surround a potential surgical site. Based on these images, the dentist determines whether or not an individual is a good candidate for a particular type of oral surgery.

Nerve repositioning surgery: Step by step

Nerve repositioning surgery can happen as a part of dental implant surgery or a bone graft. It can also be a standalone procedure. More often than not, the surgical site is at the back of the jaw, where the molars are. The procedure takes place under local anesthesia or IV sedation. Here is what to expect from the surgery:

  • To gain access to the jawbone, the oral surgeon makes an incision on the outer cheek and the soft tissues that cover the jawbone
  • They drill a small opening into the jawbone to gain access to the canal that houses the nerve and the blood vessels that feed it
  • The doctor gently and carefully moves the nerve to create space for a dental implant
  • Once the doctor installs the implant the surgeon positions the nerve bundle at an optimal location
  • The surgeon closes the small hole they drill into the jaw with bone graft material
  • Lastly, they suture the incision on the cheek

This is the traditional technique for nerve repositioning surgery. A newer, less invasive technique uses an instrument that generates high-frequency vibrations that cut into bone without the need for incisions to the soft tissue that sits on top of the jawbone.

Risks associated with nerve repositioning surgery

Surgical procedures always carry risks, more so when they involve nerve tissue. In the case of nerve repositioning, the patient should expect to experience some numbness in the days following the procedure. This should go away after a short while.

In a small percentage of patients though, the numbness persists in the long term, which is why this procedure is always a last resort. On their part, a patient should find an experienced dentist with a high success rate when it comes to nerve repositioning.

Start the journey to optimal oral health today

Our dentist has the skill and experience to ensure the success of your oral surgery. After they perform a full evaluation, the dentist will recommend a tailor-made course of treatment that is sure to deliver great results. Call or visit our Walnut Creek clinic to set up an appointment.

Request an appointment here: https://www.dentistrywalnutcreek.com or call Advanced Dentistry Of Walnut Creek at (925) 937-2273 for an appointment in our Walnut Creek office.

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