Don't Let a Missing Tooth Hold You Back in Life

Understanding Dental Implants And Nerve Damage Issues

by Wyatt Morgan

If you are weighing your tooth replacement options, then you may understand that dental implants are one of the most aesthetically pleasing and permanent devices available to you. Since dental implantation requires a surgery, you should know that the operation does come with some risks. These risks include possible nerve damage. Keep reading to learn about this issue and how your dentist will work to avoid it.

Nerve Damage And Dental Implantation

When your dentist plans your implant operation, the professional uses images to plan out the specific placement of the dental implant root. This root needs to be placed in an area where the root does not come close to or hit a nerve. Nerve damage is most common when implant devices are placed in the lower jaw. The lower jaw has one larger nerve that runs the entire length of the bone. This nerve is called the inferior alveolar nerve. The nerve sits just underneath the natural tooth roots. If your dentist happens to drill the implant root opening too deep, then this nerve can easily be hit.

There are several other nerves on both the top and bottom of the jaw that can be injured during an implant operation as well. All of these nerves are ones that run into the large facial nerve called the trigeminal nerve that supplies the brain with sensory information. 

If your dentist does happen to hit one of the nerves, then you will feel some numbness around the implant area as well as pain. Tingling sensations are common as well and the problem may be either a temporary or permanent one.

How Does Your Dentist Prevent Nerve Damage?

Your dentist will complete your implant operation with your anatomy in mind. Specifically, the professional will use both x-ray and CT scan imagery to understand your specific oral anatomy. The dentist will identify the nerves in the jaw and their location to the implant site. The professional will then plan an operation that best avoids the nerve. In some cases, this may mean angling the implant slightly or using a shorter implant root device.

Experienced dental professionals are able to avoid nerves in the vast majority of cases. In fact, nerve damage is quite rare. However, you should make sure to inform your dentist of any abnormal tingling or painful sensations that develop around the implant area after the surgery is completed. Your dentist may wait to see if the sensations resolve on their own or the implant may be removed and replaced with a slimmer variety.