If tooth implants have been recommended to you, your next question before going ahead with treatment is probably ‘are dental implants safe?’ Thanks to modern dentistry advancement, dental implant surgery is considered the ‘gold standard’ of tooth replacement and is considered safe, but dental implants are surgically embedded and every surgery carries an element of risk. Let’s take a look at the risks and possible complications associated with dental implant surgery, and how they can be managed safely.
Are Dental Implants Safe?
Some of the most common complications and risk factors associated with dental implants include infection, damage or injury to the other teeth or blood vessels, and sinus problems. Modern dental implants are usually crafted from titanium, which is well tolerated by the body.
Infection at the implant site
Infections of tooth implants generally occur because of bacteria accessing the gum during your treatment. It may happen if a decayed or diseased tooth is removed immediately before the implants are placed, and bacteria from the infection remains. It is also possible for an infection to occur if there is a gap between the bone and implant, where bacteria can enter the area.
The most common dental implant infections occur in the gums, and are typified by swelling, redness and bleeding. Pus may also be present with an infection. It is possible to treat gum infections with antibiotics, if they are minor, however any infection in the bone will need a stronger antibiotic. The dental implant will also need to be removed in order for you to heal and recover fully.
Damage to blood vessels
It is also possible for damage to be caused to the surrounding blood vessels or the roots of the adjacent teeth during implant surgery. Damage and injury to blood vessels and teeth roots can be managed through the use of x-rays, so that your dental practitioner has an idea of what is happening below your gum. Damage to blood vessels or teeth can be addressed with a cap or filling so that the hole can be covered.
In the event that damage has been caused to the tooth pulp, you may need a root canal to avoid infection.
It is also possible for nerve damage to occur in the lower jaw during dental implant surgery, if the implant is embedded too close to the inferior alveolar (the nerve that goes through your jaw) – or if your dental practitioner comes into contact with it during your dental implant procedure. Nerve damage is typified by numbness, tingling or pain in the cheeks, lips, tongue or gums.
If you have nerve damage your dental implants will need to be removed, so that your nerve fibres can reconnect to one another and heal. You may also need some pain medication while this takes place.
Allergic reactions to dental implants are rare, but they can happen and are typified by swelling, itching, hives and loosening of the implant. If you are allergic, your dentist may recommend zirconia implants.
Sinus problems are a potential complication of dental implant surgery when dental implants are placed in the upper jaw and there isn’t enough bone to embed the implant into. Damage to the sinuses can also result in an infection. In this case the dental implant would need to be removed so that the bone can be repaired before the implant is replaced. Taking the appropriate x-rays can help your dental practitioner to navigate the upper jaw safely.
Managing The Risks Associated With Dental Implants
Safety comes first
Having the appropriate pretreatment checks and screening in place is an essential part of a safe dental implant process. This includes x-rays, CT scans and a physical examination so that the necessary planning can be done.
Being a smoker automatically increases your risk of infection and lowers your chances of dental implant success. If you cannot quit smoking you should try to avoid it pre and post-treatment.
Practice exemplary dental hygiene
Brushing and flossing twice daily is part of maintaining dental hygiene, especially if your tooth loss was the result of tooth decay. Furthermore, it’s also important to remember not to touch the implant site, as this can cause further irritation or introduce an infection. If your dentist does prescribe antibiotics or any other medication, you must take it as instructed and ensure that you attend all of your dental visits.
Are you still wondering are dental implants safe? Then it’s best to discuss your individual risk factors with a professional. Please contact us for a confidential appointment: (03) 8737 9359.