The inferior alveolar nerve, which gives feeling to the lower lip and chin, may need to be moved in order to make room for placement of dental implants in the lower jaw. This procedure is limited to the lower jaw and indicated when teeth are missing in the area of the two back molars and 2nd premolar, with the above-mentioned secondary condition. Since this procedure carries considerable risk of complication (there is almost always some postoperative numbness of the lower lip and chin on the operated side, which is sometimes permanent), usually other options are considered first (i.e., bone grafting,distraction osteogenesis, ultra short implants, etc).
A portion of the outer cortex of the cheek side of the lower jawbone is removed in order to expose the nerve and vessel which lies in the lower jaw bone canal. The nerve and vessel bundle is isolated and moved out to the side. At the same time, implantscan be placed. Then the bundle is placed back over the replaced bone and implants. The area is sutured closed.
These surgeries are performed in either the office surgical suite or at a surgery center or hospital under IV sedation or general anesthesia.