Iatrogenic injury in oral surgery is the most frequent cause of sensory disturbance in the distribution of the inferior alveolar nerve (IAN) and mental nerve.
Inferior alveolar nerve damage can occur during third molar extraction, implant location, orthognathic surgery, preprosthetic surgery, salivary gland surgery, local anesthetic injections or during the resection of benign or malignant tumors.
Injuries to the IAN can be caused also by endodontic treatment of mandibular molars and premolars when filling material is forced into the tooth and mandibular canal.
The sensory disturbances that could follow a damage of the IAN could be hypoesthesia, dysesthesia, hyperesthesia, anesthesia, and sometimes a painful anesthesia that strike ipsilateral lower lip, chin, and teeth. These can undermine life quality by affecting speech, chewing, and social interaction.
Treatment of these complications is sometimes difficult and could consist in observation or in surgical decompression of the involved nerve to relieve the patient's symptoms and improve sensory recovery. The most debated points are the timing of intervention and the effective role of decompression in clinical outcome—improvement.
The purpose of this article is to show authors’ experience with 2 patients treated with microsurgical nerve decompression to remove endodontic material from the mandibular canal and providing also a comprehensive review of the literature.