Nerve Damage after Dental Implants | Can dental implants cause neurological problems?
Although dental implant surgeries are usually successful, it is not suitable for everyone. Because in some patients, it has the potential to cause long-term complications. In some cases, patients may experience nerve damage after dental implants.
This article will discuss the probability of nerve damage after a dental implant and the medical complications of neurological problems.
Reasons for neurological problems after dental implants
Dental implants usually do not have general complications, But the truth is that sometimes complications will occur due to the patient’s conditions or dental malpractice.
It is noticeable that the probability of these complications is very low; most patients do not face nerve damage during the dental implant procedure.
Sometimes, during the implantation surgery, the dentist may inadvertently place the dental implant too close to the nerve. This malpractice can cause prolonged numbness, tingling, or even severe pain. Nerve damage can also lead to persistent pain and reduced patient quality of life.
When nerve damage after surgery happens, it can cause peripheral nerve injury. During peripheral injury, a nerve may be damaged or completely severed during surgery. In these cases, the vast majority of nerves may be injured but not severed, which will heal automatically without medical intervention, but a severed nerve indicates a more serious injury that needs more medical attention.
Nerves send messages from the brain to the rest of the body. We have nerves that help us move (motor nerves), understand our environment (sensory nerves), and control our body functions (autonomic nerves). The nerves that can be damaged during dental implant surgery are motor nerves and sensory nerves.
As mentioned, some nerve damage is treated automatically after dental implants; But some other nerve damage may have long-term effects and require treatment. For example, during implant fixture placement in the jawbone, the fixture can injure a nerve through compression and may lead to a pinched nerve.
Also, bruising and swelling after surgery can put pressure on the nerves. These complications are types of nerve damage that usually heal automatically over time.
If motor nerve damage happens, it may lead to difficulty in moving and controlling of mouth, while a damaged sensory nerve usually causes numbness. When a nerve is severed during dental implant placement, it can lead to pain and even affect the overall quality of life by causing impaired speech, drooling, and painful sensations.
Damage to the trigeminal nerve in dental implants
The trigeminal nerve and its peripheral branches are prone to damage in some dental procedures such as dental implant placement. This sensory and nerve damage can be annoying for some patients due to their effects on speech, taste, chewing and daily life activities.
The good news is that most of these trigeminal nerve injuries undergo autonomic regeneration. However, some injuries may be permanent with varying degrees of sensory impairment from mild numbness to regional anesthesia. Some patients may even experience burning and dysesthesia in addition to sensory deficits.
Microsurgery of the trigeminal nerve may require restoring nerve continuity by removing any obstruction. As a result of this issue, if you encounter symptoms related to damage to the trigeminal nerve, be sure to visit your dentist and consult them in this situation. Nerve damage after a dental implant procedure requires immediate attention.
The inferior alveolar nerve (IAN) is a branch of the mandibular nerve which supplies sensation to the lower teeth. The mandibular nerve itself is the third branch of the trigeminal nerve. Damage to the IAN in the lower teeth can cause extensive damage to the surrounding areas. Some possible signs of IAN damage include:
If you face these symptoms after the dental implant procedure, please do not hesitate to visit your dentist. The dentist should start the treatment process of the damaged nerve as soon as possible.
- Persistent numbness on the side of the implant, including the lower lip and chin
- Persistent pain or discomfort
- Pulpitis, or burning in the gums and skin
Prevention of nerve damage during and after dental implants procedure
Various reasons lead to nerve damage during and after dental implant placement. Even the surgery itself can lead to a severed or damaged nerve. Neurological problems can lead to injuries and cause pain. Considering this issue, the dentist has to check the patient’s condition before implanting the tooth. Also, the dentist has to perform all the steps of the tooth implantation process with great care and precision.
If any of the mentioned cases are not done correctly, it is necessary to perform immediate treatment in case of nerve damage after a dental implant. But the most serious risk is that sometimes the nerve damage may be permanent, and the treatment methods may not have a favourable result.
Fortunately, many steps can be taken to prevent permanent nerve damage from dental implants.
With the help of advanced technology, it is now possible to prevent dental nerve damage by using dental imaging and pre-simulation of the surgical process.
Pre-simulation enables the dentist to plan the dental implant procedure with a virtual surgery that identifies the exact location, depth and angle of the dental implants before performing the actual surgery. This will eliminate the possibility of the implant’s placing too deep and reaching the nerves. Following a strict schedule is the best way to prevent serious nerve damage.