As with any other medical procedure, dental implants hold risks of complications. Generally, a dental implant procedure has a very high success rate, but there are some adverse effects that patients should consider.
A dental implant is a metal post that has been surgically implanted into the jaw bone to support an artificial tooth. Once the implant is in place, a dentist will mount a replacement tooth to it. Most dental implants are placed without a hitch, but a small percentage do encounter some complications.
Infection at the implant site
The most common complication after a dental implant, or any other medical procedure, is an infection. Peri-implantitis is the most frequent type of post-operative infection, and it is a type of gum disease that can lead to bone loss and implant failure. This infection is generally caused by the buildup of bacteria in the mouth following the surgery.
Signs of peri-implantitis are pretty common after a dental implant procedure. A study conducted by the University of Gothenburg showed that half of the tooth implants manifested signs of this infection, with about 14 percent suffering moderate to severe implications such as substantial bone loss. This is quite a high number, but luckily, proper care and hygiene can help counteract the problem.
Symptoms of infection can manifest as continuous bleeding, throbbing pain, severe swelling, and a fever that gets worse. If you experience any of these symptoms, immediately schedule an appointment with your dentist. Fighting the infection early will give you a better chance of preventing any damage.
Nerve damage is another complication of a dental implant procedure. There are nerves running through the roots of the tooth and into the gums and bone tissue. If the nerves are damaged during the implant procedure, the results can be serious which could lead to implant failure.
Nerve damage can be avoided when a skilled dentist or oral surgeon uses the correct tools and techniques. Technology such as the 3D cone beam scanner can help in the proper positioning of the implant so nerves are not injured.
Damage to the sinus cavity
Placing an implant on the top row of teeth is a delicate procedure. The bone in the upper jaw can be fragile, depending on the shape and size of the sinus cavity. If appropriate care isn’t taken, the implant may break through the upper jawbone and into the sinus cavity. The risk of damage is higher when more than one implant is placed on the upper jaw. It is important that you observe the healing process closely and report to your dentist immediately if something feels wrong.
Damage to nearby structures
If care is not taken during the pre-implantation planning stage, a dental implant could damage nearby structures. When the dental implant is not placed properly, it can shift or move the surrounding teeth out of alignment and may also harm the tooth’s root structure. This could lead to severe complications, such as damage to the gum tissue or jaw bones.
The common complications arising out of a dental implant procedure can be avoided with good planning, use of advanced tools and technology, and having a well-trained dentist to put the implant in place. If a dental procedure is out of your dentist’s scope of work, ask him or her for a referral to a trusted oral surgeon. Good preparation is your best defense against future complications with dental implants.