Prevalence of neuropathic pain and sensory alterations after dental implant placement in a university-based oral surgery department: A retrospective cohort study

Gerodontology. 2018 Jun;35(2):117-122. doi: 10.1111/ger.12326. Epub 2018 Feb 19.


Objective: To determine the prevalence and the clinical features of patients with neuropathic pain and sensory alterations after dental implant placement.

Background: Literature is very scarce concerning the prevalence of neuropathic pain after dental implant placement.

Patients and methods: A retrospective cohort study was made in patients submitted to dental implant placement in the Dental Hospital of the University of Barcelona. A descriptive analysis of the data was made, and the 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated for the prevalences.

Results: The study sample was composed of 1156 subjects of whom, 1012 patients (3743 dental implants) met the study inclusion criteria. Four hundred and seventeen patients (41.2%) were male and 595 (58.8%) were female, with a mean age of 60.7 years (range 16-90 years). Three patients were diagnosed as having painful post-traumatic trigeminal neuropathy (PPTN), which corresponds to a prevalence of 0.3% (95% CI: 0%-0.6%). Additionally, 5 patients (0.5%; 95% CI: 0%-1.07%) presented trigeminal neuropathy without pain (TNWP). The combined prevalence of both disorders was 0.8% (95% CI: 0.02%-1.3%). All patients with PPTN and TNWP were 60 years old or older, with a total combined prevalence of 1.48% (95% CI: 0.46%-2.5%) in this age group. Additionally, the prevalence in this age group for women was 1.85% (95%CI: 0.38%-3.31%).

Conclusions: Neuropathic pain after dental implant placement is very infrequent (0.3%) in a University Oral Surgery department. However, the presence of trigeminal neuropathies can be slightly higher and can affect up to 0.5% of patients. Older female patients seem to be more prone to this rare and disabling complication.

Keywords: dental implants; inferior alveolar nerve; neuropathic pain; paraesthesia; trigeminal neuropathy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dental Implantation, Endosseous / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuralgia / epidemiology
  • Neuralgia / etiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensation Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sensation Disorders / etiology*
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Surgery, Oral / education
  • Trigeminal Nerve Injuries / epidemiology
  • Trigeminal Nerve Injuries / etiology
  • Universities
  • Young Adult