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Can Dental Implants Cause Nerve Damage?

Dental implant surgery is a procedure that replaces tooth roots with titanium screws, inserted into your jawbone surgically. It replaces damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function similarly as if they are the real ones. A dental implant surgery, like any other surgery, involves some health risks. Although rare, there is still a possibility that they may occur. These risks are usually minor and easily treated. They include infection, injury to surrounding teeth or blood vessels, sinus problems and nerve damage. Every year, around 1% of the dental implant surgeries result in nerve injuries. Read on to find out how dental implants cause nerve damage.

What is Nerve Damage Caused by Dental Implants?

Nerve damage refers to a numb, painful or tingling sensation in your natural teeth, gums, lips or chin. When the dental implants are drilled too deeply in the lower jaw, there is a chance that they may penetrate the underlying inferior alveolar nerve, causing nerve injury. More often than not, these nerve injuries are usually debilitating and permanent.

Symptoms of Inferior Alveolar Nerve Injury

Causes of inferior alveolar nerve injury can be due to the use of local anesthesia, third molar surgery, dental implant surgery and endodontics. This is much more severe than lingual nerve injuries. If it is caused by dental implants, it would require immediate treatment and care to the root canal.

Some of the common symptoms of the inferior alveolar nerve injury includes a numb, painful, tingling or burning feeling in the chin, lips and gums; drooling; and impaired speech.

Severity of Inferior Alveolar Nerve Injury

This form of nerve injury can cause severe pain and altered sensation in your face. This can affect your everyday life and activities which include speaking, eating, kissing or any other forms of activities that require your mouth, significantly affecting your quality of life. Research has also shown that inferior alveolar nerve injury can lead to depression and other mental health problems as well.

Recommendations for professionals fitting dental implants

All dental professionals must ensure that their patients are given adequate consent and are fully informed of the risk of nerve damage during the dental implant surgery. There must be sufficient pre-operative radiographic planning carried out before the surgery as well. Studies have shown that the use of shorter dental implants is useful to mitigate the risk of nerve damage. Postoperative follow-up after the surgery is extremely important as well.

If you have been experiencing sharp pain and/or numbness in your moth for over 8 hours after the dental implant surgery, consult your dentist immediately. Severe pain post surgically may be a symptom of nerve damage and must not be overlooked. Nerve injuries must be treated immediately within a short window period and failure to do so can result in permanent nerve damage.

Our dentists at Guerrino Dentistry have years of experience in dental implant surgeries. If you are looking for an experienced dentist to assess your suitability for dental implants, visit Guerrino Dentistry for stellar dental services. Feel free to schedule an appointment with us today!