Palma-Carrió C, García-Mira B, Larrazabal-Morón C, Peñarrocha-Diago MA. Radiographic signs associated with inferior alveolar nerve damage following lower third molar extraction. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal. 2010 Nov 1;15 (6):e886-90.
The aim was to carry out a literature review of preoperative radiographic signs in orthopantomography (OPG) and computed tomography (CT) related with the risk of inferior alveolar nerve damage during the surgical extraction of lower third molar (LTM). A search was made on PubMed for literature published between the years 2000 and 2009.
In the reviewed literature, radiographic signs in the OPG that indicate a relationship between the LTM and the inferior alveolar canal are considered a risk factor for nerve damage. These signs are darkening and deflection of the root, and diversion and interruption in the white line of the canal. In the majority of these studies, the routine
use of CT is not justified, and is only recommended when radiographic signs appear in the OPG that demonstrate a
direct anatomical relationship between the LTM and the canal. In the CT, the absence of cortical bone in the canal
implies a contact between the root of the LTM and the canal, and is related with the presence of some radiographic
signs in the OPG. Some studies demonstrate that despite the absence of cortical bone, the risk of lesion or exposure of the nerve during the extraction of LTM was low.