Nerve Repair: An Inexact Science

Nerve repair technology has continued to improve over the years, particularly with the use of nerve grafts and guided tissue regeneration. (J Oral Maxillocaf Surg 70:1978-1999, 2012). It is still an inexact science and although we can get a return of sensation to an area where it may have been lost, it is usually imperfect sensation. The patients are happy to have feeling back, but it is rarely perfect.

I have been very fortunate during my career that I have rarely had this complication. I like to believe that I am careful and methodical in my treatments and I use reliable techniques. I am sure there is something to that, but I also think there is a certain amount of good fortune. One of my mentors told me years ago, “The more careful and studied you are in surgery, the luckier you will be.” That is good advice no matter what you do.

Early Nerve Repair to Restore Function

In terms of nerve repair, my experience is that the most important factor in restoration of nerve function is performing a repair as early as possible. This often means trying to make a decision whether the reported problem (let’s say numbness) is likely to resolve. Sometimes the decision is obvious, such as a traumatically cut nerve. Most of the time it is not so obvious. A good rule of thumb is that I would like to decompress or repair a nerve within four months if the problem is expected to be permanent. This is a little simplistic as a statement, but I put it here just for discussion.

Evolving Nerve Repair Tools

Three dimensional cone beam imaging is a relatively new tool which helps us tremendously in qualifying that assessment and decision. Proper testing and assessment is critical and it is a weighted decision as to whether it is worth it to try to get a return of sensation to an affected area.

Nerve Repair from Your Milwaukee Oral Surgeon

Let our experienced and professional oral surgeon help repair your tooth’s nerves before it’s too late. For a consultation, call Wagner Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Specialists at (262) 634-4646 today!