Risk factors of neurosensory deficits in lower third molar surgery: an literature review of prospective studies

Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2011 Jan;40(1):1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ijom.2010.09.005. Epub 2010 Oct 28.


This literature review assessed the risk factors linked to inferior dental nerve (IDN) and lingual nerve (LN) deficits following lower wisdom tooth surgery. A computer search of several databases with specified key words was performed. 32 articles were selected; the risk factors for IDN deficit were reported in 4 articles, LN in 9 and both IDN and LN in 19. Data were analysed statistically to evaluate the potential risk factors. Literature review showed specific radiographic signs and intra-operative IDN exposure increased the risk of IDN deficit. Raising the lingual flap significantly increased the risk of LN deficit. Unerupted tooth and lingual split technique increased IDN and LN deficit risks significantly. Age was linked to IDN and LN deficits, and deep impaction was related to IDN deficit, but no statistical tests were performed on these two risk factors owing to the heterogeneity of data from the studies. This literature review found increased age, unerupted tooth, deep impaction, specific radiographic signs, intra-operative IDN exposure and lingual split technique were risk factors for IDN deficit; increased age, unerupted tooth, distal impaction, raising of lingual flap and lingual split technique were risks factors for LN deficit in lower wisdom tooth surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Cranial Nerve Diseases / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications
  • Lingual Nerve / physiopathology*
  • Mandibular Nerve / physiopathology*
  • Molar, Third / surgery*
  • Prospective Studies*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensation Disorders / etiology*
  • Tooth Extraction / adverse effects*
  • Tooth, Impacted / surgery
  • Tooth, Unerupted / surgery