The Risks and Complications of Dental Implants

The Success of Dental Implants

Dental implants are known as the number one tooth replacement option as their design mimics the natural tooth structure. The success rate of dental implants is generally very high, with studies suggesting that up to 95% of implants are successful over the long term. However, there are still risks and potential complications that can happen as with any surgical procedure.

While the chances of experiencing complications are rare, you must understand them. We always recommend contacting our Knoxville dentist immediately if you experience anything out of the ordinary during your implant treatment or in your recovery period.

patient being shown what a dental implant looks like

Dental Implant Risks

Infection

Like any surgical procedure, there’s a risk of infection after dental implant surgery. Infection at the implant site, in the gum tissue surrounding the implant, or in the bone that supports the implant can occur. Symptoms of infection may include pain, swelling, redness, and pus. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your dentist immediately.

Dental Implant Failure

Implant failure occurs when the implant doesn’t integrate properly with the surrounding bone or if the implant becomes loose over time. This can happen because of a variety of reasons, such as improper placement, poor oral hygiene, or a lack of bone density. In some cases, dental implant failure may require the implant to be removed and replaced.

Nerve or Tissue Damage

Nerve or tissue damage can occur during dental implant placement. Nerve damage can cause pain or discomfort, numbness, or tingling in the lips, tongue, or chin. Tissue damage can lead to inflammation, bleeding, or infection. These complications can happen because of a variety of reasons, such as improper placement of the implant, poor oral hygiene, or a lack of bone density.

Sinus Problems

In some cases, dental implants placed in the front upper jaw bone can protrude into the sinus cavity, causing sinus problems such as sinus infections or sinusitis. This is more likely to occur if there’s insufficient bone to support the implant.

Allergic Reaction

Some people may have an allergic reaction to the materials used in the dental implant, such as titanium or other metals. Symptoms may include itching, rashes, or even anaphylaxis in severe cases.

Risk Factors

Several risk factors can increase the likelihood of experiencing complications from dental implant surgery. These risk factors can contribute to dental implant problems:

  • Poor oral health: If you have existing dental problems, such as gum disease or tooth decay, it can increase the risk of complications during and after dental implant surgery.
  • Insufficient bone density: Dental implants need a strong foundation of bone to support them. If there’s not enough bone in the jaw, it can increase the risk of early implant failure.
  • Smoking: Smoking can interfere with the healing process and increase the risk of implant failure.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, autoimmune disorders, or cancer, can increase the risk of complications during dental implant surgery.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as blood thinners, can increase the risk of bleeding during and after the procedure.
  • Age: Older adults may be at higher risk of complications from dental implant surgery due to age-related changes in bone density and healing.

Elderly woman smiling

Dental Implant Complications

Complications that may occur after receiving dental implants include:

  • Loosening or shifting of the implant: Over time, the implant may become loose or shift in the jaw, causing discomfort or negatively affecting the appearance of the implant.
  • Peri-implantitis: A form of periodontal disease that can occur around the implant. It’s caused by bacterial infection, and if left untreated, it can lead to bone loss and implant failure.
  • Implant fractures: Like natural teeth, dental implants can also fracture. It can happen due to trauma, overloading, or poor bone quality.

Always follow instructions given to you by our dentist to decrease the chances of any complications developing.

Reducing Your Risk of Complications

While there’s always some risk associated with any surgical procedure, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of experiencing complications from dental implant surgery:

  1. Choose a qualified and experienced dentist: It’s important to choose a dentist who has experience with implant dentistry and dental implant surgery. Also, check to see if they have a good track record of success with surgical procedures.
  2. Maintain good oral hygiene: Brush and floss your natural teeth and implants regularly and visit your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups.
  3. Follow your dentist’s post-surgery instructions: Our dentist will provide you with specific instructions on how to care for your implant after surgery. It’s important to follow these instructions carefully to ensure proper healing.
  4. Avoid smoking as it can interfere with the healing process and increase the risk of implant failure.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do if I experience complications or problems with my dental implant?

If you experience complications or problems with your dental implant, contact your dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible. They can evaluate the issue and determine the best course of action, which may include additional surgery or the replacement of the implant.

How can I reduce the risk of infection after the implant procedure?

To reduce the risk of infection after the implant procedure, it’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly and following your dentist or oral surgeon’s instructions for post-operative care. Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can help to reduce the risk of infection.

Can my body reject a dental implant?

It’s rare for the body to reject a dental implant, as they’re typically made from materials that are biocompatible and safe for use in the human body. However, there are some cases where the body may reject a dental implant.

Can anyone get a dental implant?

In general, most people are good candidates for a dental implant as long as they have good oral health and sufficient bone density to support the implant. However, certain medical conditions or medications may affect your eligibility for dental implants.

What is the most common cause of dental implant failure?

When a dental implant fails, it’s most often caused by osseointegration failure. This occurs when the implant post doesn’t fuse properly with the surrounding bone. Osseointegration may fail because:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Inadequate bone density
  • Improper implant placement
  • Overloading
  • Medical conditions

Achieve Your Best Smile With Dental Implants

While some risks and complications can occur with dental implants, they’re rare. With a 95% success rate, most patients achieve beautiful smiles and excellent oral health with dental implants. To learn more about dental implants, contact our Knoxville dentist today by calling (865) 687-8670.

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