Injury of the Inferior Alveolar Nerve during Implant Placement: a Literature Review

J Oral Maxillofac Res. 2011 Apr 1;2(1):e1. doi: 10.5037/jomr.2011.2101. eCollection 2011.


Objectives: The purpose of present article was to review aetiological factors, mechanism, clinical symptoms, and diagnostic methods as well as to create treatment guidelines for the management of inferior alveolar nerve injury during dental implant placement.

Material and methods: Literature was selected through a search of PubMed, Embase and Cochrane electronic databases. The keywords used for search were inferior alveolar nerve injury, inferior alveolar nerve injuries, inferior alveolar nerve injury implant, inferior alveolar nerve damage, inferior alveolar nerve paresthesia and inferior alveolar nerve repair. The search was restricted to English language articles, published from 1972 to November 2010. Additionally, a manual search in the major anatomy, dental implant, periodontal and oral surgery journals and books were performed. The publications there selected by including clinical, human anatomy and physiology studies.

Results: In total 136 literature sources were obtained and reviewed. Aetiological factors of inferior alveolar nerve injury, risk factors, mechanism, clinical sensory nerve examination methods, clinical symptoms and treatment were discussed. Guidelines were created to illustrate the methods used to prevent and manage inferior alveolar nerve injury before or after dental implant placement.

Conclusions: The damage of inferior alveolar nerve during the dental implant placement can be a serious complication. Clinician should recognise and exclude aetiological factors leading to nerve injury. Proper presurgery planning, timely diagnosis and treatment are the key to avoid nerve sensory disturbances management.

Keywords: cranial nerve injuries; dental implants.; inferior alveolar nerve; mandibular canal; mandibular nerve; paresthesia.