Although dental implants have been around for decades, recent advances in dental technology have helped increase their reliability and popularity. Today, dental implants are among the most popular tooth replacement solutions. And while dental implants are the closest thing to natural teeth, it’s important to remember that the procedure—like all surgeries—comes with a few risks. Take a look below at the risks of dental implants and what you can do to minimize the potential complications.
Top of the risk list: dental implant failure
If you’re considering dental implants to reclaim your full, bright smile, the number one risk is implant failure. When any dental implant is installed, no matter who performs the procedure, there is always a 3% to 5% risk of failure. The risk is highest when the implant is in the first 30 days—if all is well at the one-year mark, the risk of failure drops to nearly zero.
Reasons for dental implant failure
If a patient’s jawbone is relatively soft, the implant might not fit tightly enough. The dentist will notice this problem—called a “spinner” because the implant spins around without tightening—right away. To fix it, a larger implant might be fitted instead, or the dentist may recommend a bone graft.
But even if the implant fits nice and tight during the procedure, there’s a chance your jawbone will not fuse properly to the post. There are several reasons why this might happen, such as improper implantation, weak bones, or an infection after surgery, which can prevent bone cells from growing around the implant. If the dentist inspects the implant at the 3-4 month mark and it’s wobbly, it will need to be removed and replaced.
Conditions that increase the risk of dental implant failure
There are also some conditions that can increase the risk of dental implant failure. Smoking tops the list because it shuts down your capillaries and reduces the flow of blood to your gums. The health of your gums is key because they need ample blood supply to heal over the implant posts. However, merely laying off the cigarettes for a few weeks after surgery won’t help. Capillary damage is caused by years of smoking, so if you’re serious about getting dental implants, you’ll need to quit smoking entirely and wait at least 12 months for the blood supply in your gums to recover before scheduling your surgery.
Gum disease is another complicating factor that can affect proper implantation, so if you’re trying to replace a tooth that became loose due to gum disease, you’ll need to discuss the higher risk with your dentist.
Some other conditions that contribute to implant failure are bruxism (also known as tooth grinding, which can loosen an implant over time), diabetes (which can delay healing too long), and bisphosphonate therapy for osteoporosis (which also delays the healing process).
Other risks of dental implant surgery
Infection is a risk with any surgery, dental or otherwise. Another risk possibility is injury or damage to other teeth, blood vessels, or nerves, or sinus problems if the implant placed in the upper jaw protrudes into the sinus cavity. It’s important to note that these risks are rare—most patients sail through the implant procedure with flying colors to enjoy confident, full smiles for years.
Start the New Year with a new smile with dental implants
If you’ve been putting off tooth replacement, make a New Year’s resolution to restore your beautiful smile with dental implants. At Dental Implant Experts, restoring smiles is our top priority. If you have more questions about dental implants and how they can improve your smile and your life, give us a call today to schedule a consultation.