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
Doctor Answers 24
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.
Common Dental Implant Problems
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.
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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
Getting a positive outcome for dental implants
Dental implants are not the cause of the problems you described – they are the solution. Untreated decay is a common cause of infection, with broken teeth as well as missing teeth. As for bone loss, dental implants are the preferred method of dealing with missing or damaged teeth because it prevents bone loss.
There are other ways to conceal a broken tooth. But with implants, we’re inserting a tiny metal post that mimics the function of the tooth. The post is hidden by a realistic-looking crown, so no one will ever see it or know it’s there. But that post is important because it’s compatible with tooth and bone. It simulates the root of a tooth and fuses naturally with your jawbone, so it prevents bone loss.
For many patients, the value of dental implants is in “the look.” A skilled dentist can create the appearance of a tooth or teeth even when there is no tooth remaining. But implants are also valued because of the health benefits and because they offer a very long-term solution.
If you see a qualified dentist with experience in dental implants, you’re actually avoiding the problems you described. Dental implants can do amazing things for your health as well as the appearance of your smile, but it’s important to do your research first and make sure you’re seeing a doctor who’s experienced in this technique.
Are implants worth the risk?
You are correct there are some risks with implants. Some of the risks are pain from nerves that may be damaged during placement of the implant. This is very rare and if your dentist does careful planning then the risk is very small. Over the years of an implant there can be some bone loss. This can happen to natural teeth as well. Unfortunately, as with all medical procedures, there are some inherent risks. I believe that despite the risks, implants are a great treatment for replacement of missing teeth.
Dental implants problems
The success rate of implants nowadays is 95–97%. You could still fall into those 3%, and you're not going to be happy. Primary predictors of implant failure are chronic periodontitis, systemic diseases, smoking, acentric loading, an inadequate number of implants, parafunctional habits and absence/loss of implant integration with hard and soft tissues. But all the above could be identified and properly addressed prior to implant placement by an experienced dentist.
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.
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.