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?
Dental Implants Problems - What's Common
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Success of dental implants approaches 99%
Dental implants, where properly placed by a surgeon and properly restored by a skilled restorative dentist, carry 99% + success rate. This is well documented in the literature. Complications are very rare, however here are a few tips to help achieve optimal results and minimize complications:
- Choose a surgeon to place your implants and a restorative dentist to restore them. Team approach is critical allowing each clinician to do what they do best.
- Bone graft when necessary: Implants of adequate height and width must be placed in precise locations. If bone if deficient, it is important to develop those sites first to allow proper implant selection and positioning.
- Place implants that are well recognized with adequate quality control: Avoid use of cheaper 'no frill' type implants.
- The prosthesis must be well made with precision fit and occlusion.
- Use surgical guides to assure proper placement
- Follow pre-operative and post operative instructions.
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.
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.
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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
- 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.
Common Dental Implant Problems
Dental implant complications
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.
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.
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.
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.