Objectives: Infererior alveolar nerve (IAN) damage may be one of the distressing complications occurring during implant placement. Because of nature of closed injury, a large proportion is approached non-invasively. The purpose of this study was to analyze the outcomes of conservative management of the injured nerve during dental implant procedure.
Materials and Methods: Sixty-four patients of implant related IAN injury, who were managed by medication or observation from January 1997 to March 2007 at the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Seoul National University Dental Hospital, were retrospectively investigated. The objective tests and subjective evaluations were performed to evaluate the degree of damage and duration of sensory disturbance recovery. Tests were performed on the day of the first visit and every two months afterward. Patient's initial symptoms, proximity of the implant to the IAN, time interval between implant surgery and the first visit to our clinic, and treatment after implant surgery were analyzed to determine whether these factors affected the final outcomes.
Results: Among the 64 patients, 23 had a chief complaint of sensory disturbance and others with dysesthesia. The mean time until first visit to our hospital after the injury was 10.9 months.One year after nerve injury, the sensation was improved in 9 patients, whereas not improved in 38 patients, even 4 patients experienced deterioration. Better prognosis was observed in the group of patients with early visits and with implants placed or managed not too close to the IAN.
Conclusion: Nearly 70% of patients with IAN injury during implant placement showed no improvement in sensation or dysesthesia with the conservative management. Earlier decision for active treatment needs to be considered because of possibility of deterioration of symptoms and unsatisfactory recovery.
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