Dental implant surgery has a very high success rate of 95%, and dental implants offer significant benefits to patients who have lost a tooth. However, dental implant complications or problems are possible, although the risks are low. If you are considering an implant, it’s important to be aware of potential dental implant problems.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Dental implants are a way of replacing missing teeth. A dental implant is a titanium screw that replaces the tooth root of a missing tooth. A replacement tooth prosthesis is attached via an abutment onto the screw.
Dental Implant Procedure
During the implant dentistry surgery, an oral surgeon makes a small incision into the gum, and then inserts a titanium screw into the jawbone. The screw fuses to the bone over time, in a process known as osseointegration.
Once the incision site heals, and the titanium screw has been sufficiently fused with the bone, so the screw is fully secured, the artificial tooth piece can be added.
What Are the Problems With Dental Implants That a Patient Looking to Have Implant Surgery Should Be Aware Of?
In most cases, the screw fuses to the bone securely during the bone healing process, and there are no complications. Below are some of the limitations and potential problems that may be experienced, however.
Not All People Are Good Candidates
Most healthy patients are good candidates, but some people may need treatment beforehand to address issues, or may not be able to receive a dental implant successfully.
Good oral health is required before receiving an implant. People with gum disease and gum recession will need treatment, including gum tissue grafts, as healthy gums are needed to support an implant. Similarly, people who are experiencing bone loss and don’t have enough bone mass for the screw to fuse to with will need bone grafts before the procedure can be done.
Patients with medical history of conditions that delay healing, autoimmune disorders, and other concerns may not be able to undergo implant surgery.
Dental Implant Failure
Dental implant failure includes any situation where a dental implant becomes loose, falls out, or needs to be taken out. Early dental implant failure involves an issue before the false tooth replacement crown is attached. After this point, a loose implant would be considered late dental implant failure.
Failure can happen for a variety of reasons. The surgical site can become infected, and the screw may not fuse properly to the bone, so it is not secure enough. If there is not enough blood flow to the area, it may not heal properly. Also, if excessive forces are placed on the implant, such as from teeth grinding, it can loosen the implant.
The good news is that there are several things a patient can do to reduce the risks of failure.
In rare cases, a person may be allergic to titanium. Although this is the most common material for implants, if an allergy to it is known ahead of time, a different material can be used. If the allergy is unknown, a person may notice redness, swelling, itchiness, fatigue and muscle pain, rashes and lesions after the implant placement, and the implant will need to be removed.
Nerve or Tissue Damage
If implant placement is not ideal, nerve damage can occur, causing feelings of numbness or tingling.
There is a healing period after a dental implant surgery to be aware of. The surgical site needs to heal, and the titanium post needs time to fuse with the bone, which takes time. Patients do need to be careful and follow care instructions completely during this period.
Reducing Risk Factors
Risk factors, such as smoking, affect the healing process. Avoiding smoking for as long as possible before and after implant surgery, or preferably quitting, reduces the risks of a problem with dental implants. Alcohol has an impact on bleeding, and should be avoided, too.
Maintaining excellent oral hygiene is critical in reducing the chances of a dental implant infection. It is important to follow all after-care recommendations.
Placing excessive stresses on an implant should be avoided, by not biting hard items or foods with it, especially during healing. If night-time grinding is an issue, a mouth guard can help.
Visiting the dentist regularly for checkups and to monitor the implant ensures potential issues are caught early, and means they can often be addressed before the implant fails.
It is important to be aware of symptoms to look out for, such as problems chewing, redness, gum recession, swelling, loosening of an implant, and severe pain or discomfort. If any symptoms are noticed, a patient should see the dentist as soon as possible.
Risks vs. Benefits
If you are healthy and follow your instructions carefully, risks are low. It is worth considering the benefits that dental implants offer, as well as the risks.
Dental implants look and act like natural teeth. Once everything has healed, they don’t require any special care, and you can just brush and floss them like normal teeth. A dental implant will also maintain a proper spacing of your natural teeth, and prevent them from shifting towards the gap. This is important, as shifting can cause other teeth to loosen and fall out.
The stimulation of the artificial tooth root in the jaw bone encourages bone growth, and helps prevent bone loss.
Century Stone Dental offers dental implants for patients with missing teeth, for artificial teeth that look and act just like real ones.