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Dental Implants Problems - What's Common

I'm considering getting dental implants, but I'm worried about side effects and complications. I've heard that they can cause nerve damage and even bone loss. And other problems like infection and breaking. Are they worth the risks?

Doctor Answers 21

Dental implant concerns

Today, dental implants really are the standard for replacing missing teeth. Any surgery has risks, but the benefits (preserving bone, no cutting down of adjacent teeth) make implants the first choice if you've lost a tooth. If you are healthy and have experienced doctors, I don't think you need to worry much about complications. I have seen implants fail in smokers more than once though, so that would be a real concern.

Cleveland Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Common Dental Implant Problems

Having dental implant surgery is completely safe with minimal risks associated with it. You need to find a qualified dentist and/or specialists such as a periodontist (gum and bone specialist) or oral surgeon. Ask him or her how many cases they perform per week and how many years they have been doing it. As long as a proper history is taken, a good clinical examination is performed and a 3D CAT scan is taken prior to surgery, the risks are minimized. In medicine and dentistry we cannot guarantee results. However, having said that, we minimize risk by careful pre-operative planning. There is an old saying builders have: measure twice-cut once. As long as your dental healthcare professional adheres to this principle, your risk of any complications or infections or nerve damage will be negligible. 

Herbert Veisman, DDS
Toronto Periodontist

Dental Implants are Quite Successful!

With advances in Dental Technology and Dignostic Imaging the placement of Dental Implants are predominately successful. The Dental Profession as a whole has become more savvy in Surgical Techniques and Diagnositc ability which accounts as to why placing and restoring Implants have had success rates in the high 90 percent range. It is not beneficial to Patient and to Doctor to place Implants in heavy smokers or people who are sick with metabolic disease such as poorly controlled diabetics. Proper patient selection is key as is the coordinated efforts between the experienced  Surgeon and Restorative Dentist. When these parameters are met Dental Implants sets the standard today as to how teeth are replaced.

Dental Implants Problems - What's Common?

What are common problems with Dental Implants? More importantly, how worried should you be about having problems with Dental Implants?

The answer is there is a low problem rate. Most people have dental implants placed and then the teeth rebuilt on them without any major issues and they work well for many years, possibly even your whole life.

Like ANY minor surgical procedure, there are always some risks. I have found after twenty years as a dental implant dentist in Denver, that almost all of the problems can be prevented by impeccable pre-planning. 

Most of the time an oral surgeon or a periodontist puts the implant root in. After it heals then the cosmetic dentist connects the post (the abutment) and then the final teeth or crowns. SOme of the more common problems or complications from dental implants are:

  • poor alignment, leading to poor aesthetics or inadequate strength
  • infection
  • pain, more common if the jaw needs grafts
  • bite issues leading to loosening/failure and loss of the dental implant

I tell my patients, "Don't let anyone put the implant root in until I tell you its OK." The cosmetic dentist needs to organize and direct any of the other specialists on exactly where the implant should go. 

I also tell my patients- "let's compare other risks". Think about the risks you face everyday when you drive your car: some one could run a red light, a pedestrian could step off the curb, an old man could have a heart attack and swerve, my tire could blow out...but yet we all still get in our cars everyday and log many miles without problems. Dental implants are similar in this way.

Since it is minor surgery there are ALWAYS some risks. Be sure to ask about anything in particular that worries you. There are always alternatives, but each of those has their own set of risks as well. 

Dental implants, well planned by a cosmetic dentist, and with great communication inside the implant team, are highly predictable and produce beautiful results. Thanks, Scott Greenhalgh, DDS

Risks with Implants

34 years ago, when I completed Dental School, the success rate of Implants was about 50%. That rate has gradually climbed to about 96% today. There are a few failures, but diagnosed and placed correctly, you should not worry about any serious side effects.

Mickey Bernstein, DDS
Memphis Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Implant Problems

Implants have a success rating approaching 99% and should not be associated with nerve damage. Implants are known to prevent the ongoing bone loss after teeth have been removed/lost. Infections are a risk associated with all surgical procedures. However, implants are the best option for tooth replacement. The benefits outweigh the risks. 

Dental implant complications

Although any procedure has the potential for complications or failure, dental implants have a very high success rate. Infection is extremely rare and most surgeons take the extra precaution of prescribing antibiotics to lower the risk even further. Implant breakage is also rather rare, especially if the proper size implants are chosen and a sufficient number of implants are placed to give sufficient support.
Approximately 5% of dental implants fail. There are many potential causes such as improper homecare, placement in a site that is less than ideal, and the most common cause of failure, which is smoking

Risks of Dental Implants

Dental Implants when performed by dentists with proper training have success more than 90% of the time as documented by research.

The risks are much less than the benefits.

Nerve damage occurs when there is not proper planning. Today a CT scan can give an accurate measurement of how far away nerves and sinus are and how much room is available for the dental implant.

Bone loss can occur if the implant is not placed or restored properly or not cleaned properly by the patient. This risk is very low.

Dental implants rarely break. This occurs when the patient's bite has not been analyzed and adjusted properly or if too much pressure is placed on a single implant.

The risk of infection is very low and most patients take antibiotics as a precaution to prevent infection.

Sylvan Fain, DDS
Miami Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Common Dental Implant problems

With todays Implant technology and diagnostic techniques, Implants in the hands of a skilled dentist, will not have issues. 3D scans, radiographs (X-Rays) and your dentists experience will all come into play in ensuring there are no complications or problems.

That being said, we are dealing with a biological system and sometimes, even with the best planned treatments, there can be some issues. The medical community deals with this much more than the dental. Just talk to anyone who has had knee or hip replacement treatments.

Dentistry has had amazing success in providing long lasting treatments without significant problems and Implants are now in that same realm of safe, predictable, and long term treatments.

Paul Newitt, BSc, DMD
Vancouver Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Dental Implants Have High Success Rate


Today, Dental Implants is the treatment of choice for missing teeth, provided there is adequate bone for the implants and it can be properly placed to avoid nerve damage. If the bone in the area of the missing tooth does not have enough density or thickness, the implant may not be successful, unless bone graft is done before placing the implant.


Choosing the correct location, the correct implant thickness and length will also insure a more successful outcome.


Waiting 3-4 months till the implant is successfully integrated into the jaw bone before placing a crown over it, will also help with achieving a successful outcome.






Arthur Kezian, DDS
Los Angeles Dentist
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.