Boise & Meridian
Dental implants are an incredible modern treatment used to replace missing teeth. Treatment involves the use of small posts, made from titanium in most cases, to provide support for replacement teeth. The posts are surgically implanted into your jawbone. During the recovery phase of the implant process, your bone fuses to the posts, stabilizing them within your jaw.
At Treasure Valley Oral & Facial Surgery, we provide dental implants to meet many different needs. A big factor in the success of dental implants is the condition of your jawbone. Even if you are missing a significant amount of bone mass, there are still ways to get dental implants. One way is with nerve repositioning.
Bone Loss After Tooth Loss
Following tooth loss, several things happen. One of the most obvious impacts of tooth loss is what happens to your smile, and your confidence. Tooth loss affects how well you can bite and chew food. It affects your speech.
Tooth loss also impacts the health and strength of your jawbone. One role of the teeth that many are unaware of is that they help maintain your jaw. The roots of the teeth stimulate the bone as you chew. This tells your body to send essential nutrients. Following tooth loss, the bone loses stimulation. As a result, fewer nutrients are sent. Over time, the bone begins to lose mass and weaken.
This can affect the shape of the jaw and the alignment of your teeth, affecting your oral health and the shape of your face. Dental implants can put a stop to the bone loss in your jaw and prevent new bone loss from occurring. However, there are certain issues that may present themselves that can complicate the implant process.
What is Nerve Repositioning?
In the lower jaw, bone loss can also impact the inferior alveolar nerve. As the bone deteriorates, this nerve moves closer to the gum line. Attempting to place dental implants in this area could mean hitting the nerve. If this happens, permanent damage, such as permanent numbness, can occur. To protect the nerve and place dental implants, a nerve repositioning may be recommended. This is a surgical procedure that, as the name suggests, involves moving the inferior alveolar nerve, to allow sufficient space to safely and successfully place implants in the lower jaw.
How is Nerve Repositioning Done?
Nerve repositioning requires surgery. During the procedure, an outer section of the jawbone needs to be removed. This is necessary to expose the nerve bundle and vessel canal. The nerve is then temporarily moved to the side so that we can then properly place your dental implants. After your implants have been placed, the nerve is then released and moved back into its regular position. The surgical incision is filled with bone graft material, and the incision in the soft tissue is sutured closed.
Are There Alternatives to Nerve Repositioning?
A nerve repositioning is considered an aggressive procedure and comes with the risk of temporary or even permanent numbness in the jaw or lower lip. There are alternatives to this procedure that may also be considered. One such procedure is a bone graft. This is a surgical procedure that involves placing graft material into the weak areas of your jaw to restore mass and height and give more space for the inferior alveolar nerve.
Alternatively, instead of dental implants, you may be recommended for a traditional bridge or denture. While these solutions do not stop bone loss in your jaw, they do not require surgery for placement.
If you have suffered tooth loss in your lower jaw and do not want to undergo a bone graft, a nerve repositioning may be the solution for you. For more information, and to schedule your consultation, call Treasure Valley Oral & Facial Surgery today at (208) 994-6227.