A Survey of the Opinion and Experience of UK Dentists: Part 1

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Abstract

Background:

Dental implant-related iatrogenic trigeminal nerve (TG) injuries are proportionally increasing with dental implant surgery. This study, which is presented in greater detail over a series of articles, assessed the experience of implant-related TG nerve injuries among UK dentists. Incidence and cause of inferior alveolar nerve (IAN), mental nerve (MN), and lingual nerve (LN) injuries, together with preoperative assessment and the consent process, are presented in this article.

Methods:

A survey was distributed among 405 dentists attending an Association of Dental Implantology congress in the United Kingdom, of which 187 completed the survey.

Results:

Most responding dentists were full-time general practitioners. Implant dentistry training was predominately through industry-organized courses. Eighty dentists encountered implant-related IAN injuries, whereas 8 encountered LN injuries. Inaccurate radiological identification of the IAN/MN and their anatomical variations (48%) were seen to be the most frequent cause of TG injuries. Disclosure of the relative risk and benefits of alternative implant treatment strategies as part of the informed consent process was not deemed to be essential by 47 (25%) of the participants.

Conclusion:

Inadequate radiological assessment was the most common cause of TG nerve injury. The use of small field of view cone beam computer tomography (CBCT) is therefore recommended when placing implants in the posterior mandible. Implant surgeons should acquire evidence-based skills in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of TG nerve injury as well as specific training on justification and interpretation of CBCT scans.

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