Potential neurovascular damage as a result of dental implant placement in the anterior maxilla

Andrew Shelley, James Tinning, Julian Yates, Keith Horner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction A patient requested dental implant therapy to replace his missing upper left central incisor. Pre-operative cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) imaging revealed a complex neurovascular supply to the anterior maxilla. Discussion Imaging demonstrated accessory neurovascular canals around the nasopalatine foramen which directly communicate with canalis sinuosus. They are, therefore, most likely to carry branches of the anterior superior alveolar nerve and vessels. One of these canals was directly in the path of proposed dental implant placement. A review of the dental literature suggests that such anatomical variation is relatively common. Some authors have proposed that injury to these structures is a cause of intractable pain following dental implant placement. Following discussion with the patient, it was agreed that the provision of an adhesive bridge was a realistic alternative in this case. Conclusion The availability of CBCT imaging in recent years has shown that complex neurovascular anatomy in the anterior maxilla is not uncommon. Evidence is lacking regarding the relevance of this to dental implant placement but it is possible that injury to these structures explains some cases of postoperative intractable pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-661
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number9
Early online date10 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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