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Quintessence Int. 2019;50(1):68-79. doi: 10.3290/j.qi.a41367.

Undesirable course of an oral implant rehabilitation in a patient with a long history of bulimia nervosa: case report and review of the literature.



Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder resulting in an intended weight loss due to decreased food intake, induced vomiting, or hyperactivity, and is observed frequently between 12 and 25 years of age. One of the complications is early tooth loss. Moreover, since bulimia nervosa patients suffer from increased atrophy of the alveolar processes, oral rehabilitation even with short dental implants may be impossible. In these cases, lateralization or transposition of the inferior alveolar nerve (IAN) followed by implant placement can be useful.


A 40-year-old woman with a long-lasting history of bulimia nervosa requested a fixed rehabilitation of her partially edentulous mandible. In 2012, a bilateral IAN transposition approach was performed using piezosurgery, and without any postoperative neurosensory alterations. Two years later, bilateral insertion of each two implants was followed by an inflammatory destabilization of the lower left mandible; subsequent to the implant removal, a fracture occurred, and the latter was stabilized by osteosynthesis plates. In 2017, three additional implants were placed, finally providing the patient with a fixed restoration on five implants.


Eating disorders may have a tremendous impact on both physical condition and oral health, resulting in early tooth loss and severe bone atrophy. IAN transposition is a viable treatment option to enable installing fixed prostheses via dental implants, but the latter will clearly increase the risk of inflammation and interruption of mandibular continuity. Close clinical and radiologic monitoring is mandatory to adequately respond to complications such as peri-implant mucositis, peri-implantitis, osteomyelitis, or concomitant fractures.


alveolar bone loss; bulimia nervosa; dental implant; eating disorder; inferior alveolar nerve transposition; mandibular fracture; osteopenia; osteoporosis; peri-implantitis

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