Dental implants are a very safe procedure. The success rate for dental implants is very high, and the risks are very small. However, as with all surgical procedures, there is some small level of risk that needs to be taken into account. Most risks are only to the dental implants itself, leading to an increased risk of failure. Some risks, however, can cause injury or health problems that may have widespread or lasting consequences. Most risks can be minimized just by choosing the best candidates for dental implants.
Risks That Threaten Dental Implants
The most common complications of a dental implant procedure are those that can cause dental implant failure. Some of these risks are well understood and are easily preventable. Others are somewhat mysterious and are harder to prevent.
The most common cause of dental implant failure is peri-implantitis, an infection of the tissue around the dental implant. This is similar to periodontal disease, which infects the tissue around your tooth. The rates for peri-implantitis and periodontal disease are about the same, with about half of all implant patients experiencing some degree of peri-implantitis. Most cases of peri-implantitis, like most periodontal disease, can be successfully controlled and won’t cause the loss of the implant. Eliminating oral infection before implants are placed and practicing good oral hygiene will usually protect your implants.
Another potential risk is that your dental implant simply won’t integrate with your bone. The failure to osseointegrate is the second most common cause of dental implant failure. The reasons why dental implants don’t integrate into your bone are not always clear.
Risks with Widespread or Long-Term Consequences
Some risks associated with dental implants can actually have serious consequences beyond the implant itself. And the consequences may be long-term or even permanent. It’s important to understand that these complications are very rare.
It’s possible that infection from dental implant surgery could spread to the rest of the body. This could make you very sick, and, theoretically, could even be life-threatening.
Bone loss around the implant could expand, threatening the jawbone.
Implant surgery could cause damage to your neighboring teeth. This might mean those teeth might have to be extracted and replaced with implants.
During implant surgery, the implant could damage a nerve in the jaw. This could result in persistent pain, numbness, or tingling in the jaw, the teeth, the lips, or gums.
Some people report sinus problems if an implant protrudes into one of the sinuses.
Implants can sometimes break either during placement or during wear. This can damage the jawbone.
How Common Are Dental Implant Complications?
As we said above, dental implant complications are very rare. A recent study looked at nearly 2 million adverse events reported to the FDA as part of its medical device monitoring program. Of these, only about 28,000 related to dental devices, including about 15,000 related to dental implants. Of these, nearly 12,000 were about dental implants failing to osseointegrate. Dental implant fracture accounted for just over 100 reports, and none of the other adverse events reported threatened patient harm.
Although dental implants do have complications, these are uncommon and are only likely to affect your implant itself.
If you would talk to us in person about dental implants in San Diego, please call (619) 299-5925 for an appointment at at Strober Dental.