Tidbits for Dentists

Altered Sensation with Mandibular Implants

Joanne Walton, in her article ‘Altered Sensation associated with implant in the anterior mandible: A prospective study’ (J Pros Dent, April 2000; 83:4:443-449) utilizing both objective and subjective criterion to measure alterations in sensation in patients receiving two implants in the anterior mandible; which retained an over-denture. Measurements were taken prior to surgery through first and second stage surgery, and prosthesis placement; up to a period of one year from first stage surgery. The results are quite interesting.

During the first few weeks after surgery 25% of patients reported alterations in sensation. This was primarily reported by those who presented without any sensory alterations prior to surgery.

Sensory alterations for those with severe alveolar resorption v. those with normal resorption were more noticeable at two weeks, and more severe in normal ridges following second stage surgery. Women were more aware of sensory changes than men.

The bottom line is that with only two implants placed, 25% of patients will experience some form of altered sensation following surgery. In 98% of the cases this is gone by one year. The most likely to experience sensory changes are: those without sensory alterations preoperatively, those with severely resorbed bone and women at two weeks, men at four months. Critical times for sensory changes are the two weeks following surgery (Stage I or Stage II). We can’t tell patients that they won’t have sensory changes with implant surgery.

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