Dental Implant Problems

Of the 3 million people in the United States that have dental implants, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, most people enjoy the success of the procedure and their new replacement tooth without serious complications. However, with the dental implant surgery and the introduction of a foreign body in your jaw, some problems can arise and, in some cases, long term issues can persist.

When you are discussing the tooth replacement options and the dentist is determining if you are an ideal candidate for a dental implant, the dentist will take other health issues into consideration to ensure you fall into the 95% dental implant success category. People who smoke, are diabetic, have gum disease, use specific medications, and have had radiation therapy on their jaw are less likely to have a successful experience with a dental implant.

Potential Complications from Dental Implant Surgery

Once the dentist determines that you are an ideal candidate for dental implant, you will have surgery to place the implant below your gumline. In general, surgeries have the potential to cause infections so the dentist will give you instructions on how to care for your wound and prevent an infection. Other common problems from the dental implant surgery include:

  • Gum Recession – As the tissue around your new implant starts to heal, the gums may start to pull away from the implant causing pain and irritation.
  • Loose Implant – After the implant is placed below the gums, it will start to fuse with the jaw bone. If this process called osseointegration fails to take place, the implant will not remain securely in place.
  • Nerve or Tissue Damage – Depending on the location of your missing tooth, the implant may be located too close to a nerve in your jaw. One nerve in particular, the inferior alveolar nerve, is likely to cause serious symptoms if it is damaged. Long term numbness, burning, tingling, and pain in your jaw, lips, or chin are indicators that your nerves have been affected by the dental implant.

Less common problems that can result from dental implant surgery include sinus issues, stuffy noses, sinus pressure and headaches, toothaches, halitosis, fever, and trouble smelling. If you are someone who suffers from bruxism, or you grind your teeth while sleeping, you may need to take care to not crack or loosen your dental implant.

In the long term, an issue called peri-implantitis can develop if the site of the implant remains inflamed, irritated, or infected for an extended period of time without treatment. The result is a loss of bone where the implant is supposed to be supported by the jaw. Usually, people develop peri-implantitis around five years after the surgery. Bleeding and swelling in your mouth near the implant are the most common symptoms of this chronic inflammation.

Prior to your dental implant surgery, the dentist will talk to you about any allergies to metals including titanium. If you are concerned about the small percentage of other metals used in the dental alloys, the dentist may recommend metal sensitivity testing to prevent your body from rejecting the implant after surgery. Despite these measures and precautions, some people experience the rare instance of their body rejecting the dental implant.

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