Background: Implant surgery in the mandible can cause serious complications that can be life threatening. The incidence and cause of iatrogenic trigeminal nerve injury (TNI) related to dental implant surgery was investigated in a survey of the opinion and experience of the UK dentists and reported by the authors in part 1 of this series of articles. Part 2 reported on the risk assessment and management of implant-related inferior alveolar nerve (IAN), mental nerve (MN), and lingual nerve (LN) injuries. This article evaluates the significance of these findings and recommends an evidence-based protocol of risk management strategies to reduce the risk of TNI related to dental implant surgery.
Methods: A survey was distributed among 405 dentists attending an Association of Dental Implantology (ADI) congress, of which 187 completed the survey.
Results: In this study, the strategies to manage the risk of TNI included unilateral staging of implant placement (57%) and identification the MN when placing implants (43%). Twelve percent used drill stops when operating in the mandible. Nineteen dentists used steroids (eg, dexamethasone) routinely preoperatively and postoperatively. Twenty-six dentists used basic cone beam computed tomography minimally invasive techniques, and 70% encountered a large anterior loop of the IAN. Most dentists (76%) allowed a 2- to 4-mm safety zone radiologically above the IAN when placing implants, and over half of the responders (56%) used implants that were 10 mm in length.
Conclusion: Given the elective nature of implant surgery, TNI should be fully avoidable. The evidence suggest that TNI can be minimized with meticulous attention to accurate assessment and surgical planning as well as carrying out the surgery with a high degree of precision. In part 3 of their series of articles, the authors presented an evidence-based protocol that comprises preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative risk management strategies for dental implant surgical procedures in the mandible.