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9 Most Reported Dental Implant Complications

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Dental Implant Complications

Missing teeth affect the patient’s jaw-bone and face. Fortunately, dental implants can help regain jaw-bone support and chewing power.

A dental implant has a titanium screw that acts as a tooth root. A crown is attached to the screw enabling it to function as the missing tooth.

Data suggests more than three million Americans have at least one artificial tooth root. The prosthetic device is considered far better than a dental bridge or dentures.

You undoubtedly wish to know the problems associated with the procedure. Case studies have indicated that implant surgery has a success rate of 95 percent. The procedure is safe. Yet, there is a slight chance of developing complications. Let’s look at the most reported issues and possible solutions to avoid them.

Allergic reaction to titanium or other metals

Patients with sensitivity to metals might experience allergic reactions. Some well-known symptoms are eczematous lesions of the cheeks, oral or facial erythema, swelling, urticaria, and pruritus.

These signs indicate the body is rejecting dental implants. Therefore, dentists conduct tests to determine metal sensitivity and suggest alternative options for reimplantation.

Loose implant

The implant screw needs a few weeks to integrate (osseointegration) with the jaw bone and surrounding tissues. The process plays a vital role in the surgery’s success ratio.

The osseointegration process remains slow in individuals with a weak healing system. Even individuals who lack a healthy jaw-bone to support the screw can face problems. In such cases, the implant might become loose or even fall out. Patients should store the crown, screw, or other implant components and fix an appointment with the dental surgeon.

Damage due to bruxism

Individuals suffering from bruxism end up applying excess force on teeth while asleep. Lack of mouthguard or shield causes damage to both artificial and natural teeth. Slowly but steadily, the prosthetic device becomes unsteady.

Dentists examine the artificial tooth to analyze the possible reasons for the damage. They recommend a custom-made mouthguard to habitual teeth grinders.

Peri-implantitis

The titanium screw remains stable due to the jawbone support. And, peri-implantitis is a medical condition that slowly infects the integration site.  The chronic inflammation at the infected site starts showing symptoms only after five years or more.  Patients rush to their dentists when they experience swelling or bleeding at the infected site. It’s too late in most cases, and removing the implant remains the only option.

Bacterial infection

The gum around the artificial tooth remains vulnerable to bacterial infection for a few weeks post-surgery.  No points for guessing. Patients who fail to maintain proper oral hygiene after surgery give an open invitation to this type of infection around the implant site.

Dental surgeons carefully inspect the site to determine the best treatment alternative. The first choice is antibiotics. If the infection is severe, professionals might recommend soft tissue graft, removal of infected tissues, or a combination of three.

Receding gums

In rarest of rare cases, the gums surrounding the artificial tooth start receding. The implant becomes visible, and the gum line appears unaesthetic.

Usually, patients start noticing the change after a few months post-surgery.

Some individuals might experience pain. But there are cases where there are no signs of problems at all. In any case, the patient must visit his or her dental clinic immediately.

Delay can result in total implant failure, and the dentist won’t have any other option but to remove it.

Nerve damage

Placing the implant screw too close to the nerve can inadvertently result in nerve or tissue damage. As a result, the patient might experience pain, tingling sensation, or numbness for several weeks after surgery. Pain and discomfort in the lower chin and lip are other signs indicating nerve damage.

Nerve damage in the lower jaw needs immediate attention, impacting the patient’s quality of life.

Sinus issues in upper jaw implants

In some cases, an upper jaw implant ends up protruding into sinus cavities leading to a medical condition called sinuses.

Symptoms such as toothache, blocked nose, sinus headaches, fever, and a reduced sense of smell indicate sinuses. However, dental care professionals can diagnose the same only during check-ups.

Implant failure due to heartburn medications

Sounds funny, doesn’t it? But, as per a study conducted by McGill University, heartburn medications negatively impact bone growth. And this ultimately delays the osseointegration.

Besides heartburn medicines, even antidepressants and other medications can result in the same consequences.

Possible ways to handle post-implant complications

Implants last for a lifetime if you take proper care. However, they might need additional treatment in case of complications.

Removal and reimplantation is the most recommended option in case of infection or loosening. The success rate in the case of reimplantation is around 90 percent.

Are there any alternatives to dental implants?

Dentists always try to save natural teeth with treatment options like fillings or a root canal. In addition, professionals recommend complete mouth dentures, partial dentures, fixed bridges, or dental implants if the tooth is damaged beyond repair. However, it’s crucial to note that a titanium root is reliable, durable, corrosion-resistant, and integrates well in the jaw-bone.

Quick tips to reduce chances of developing complications

  • Altogether avoid smoking during the period suggested by your dental surgeon
  • Follow proper oral care and diet routine post-surgery
  • Brush and floss your teeth every morning
  • Visit the dental clinic as scheduled by your dentist
  • Use a custom-made mouthguard if you grind your teeth
  • Keep your dentist well-informed about your overall medical history
  • Share details about over-the-counter or prescription medications prescribed by your physician

To sum it up

Are titanium implants safe and permanent? The answer is yes. They can last for at least 25 years or more. As a result, the chances of complications are lesser. However, choosing a reputed and experienced dental clinic for the procedure is vital.

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