The inferior alveolar nerve which gives feeling to the lower lip and chin may need to be moved, or relocated, in order to make room for placement of dental implants to the lower jaw. This procedure is limited to the lower jaw and indicated when teeth are missing in the area of the two back molars and/or the second premolar regions. This procedure often results in some degree of postoperative numbness of the lower lip and jaw area, dissipating only very slowly, if ever. Therefore, other treatment options should be considered first.
The bone covering the cheek side of the lower jaw bone over the tooth positions in question is removed in order to expose the nerve and vessel canal. The nerve and blood vessels are isolate and gently moved aside, making room for implant and bone graft placement. Then the nerve and blood vessels are released and placed back over the implants. The surgical access is refilled with more bone graft material and the area is closed.
If Dr. Culberson considers you a suitable candidate for this procedure and you express interest, he will refer you to another provider that performs this procedure. These surgeries are usually performed in a surgical suite under IV sedation or general anesthesia.