Getting dental implants is not a decision that should be made lightly, but it can be life-changing for people who have lost one or more teeth. Those who are missing teeth suffer not only from cosmetic issues, but often from low-self esteem, problems chewing, and a feeling of simply missing something in their mouth.
In most situations, getting dental implants results in nothing but positive outcomes. Those who get dental implants experience higher self-esteem and a beautiful smile that often makes a difference in getting jobs, friends, partners and the trust of those around them.
Dental implants are considered by most to be a cosmetic procedure. Those who have problems chewing would disagree. Chewing is a vital component of digestion. Without the ability to chew, patients can lose their ability to consume solid foods. Dental implants can often help patients maintain their ability to chew and enjoy foods of all kinds.
As with any dental or medical procedure, however, there are some risks associated with dental implants. Although most patients feel that the benefits of the procedure far outweigh the risks, it is important to be aware of the possible pitfalls of dental implants so you can avoid them if possible.
An Inexperienced Surgeon
Dentists who are inexperienced in performing dental implant surgery may increase the possibility that a medical complication will occur. It is extremely important that you trust the oral surgeon you are working with.
Those who choose to go overseas to save on dental implants often experience negative results. Going overseas will increase the risk of complications regardless of who is performing the procedure. The standard of care in the United States is higher than in 95% of other countries.
Failure to Integrate
Implants need a strong and sturdy structure for proper implantation. Ultimately, the implant should integrate with the bone. This allows the implant to have full strength and to feel natural. Full implantation will also help to preserve the bone in the jaw.
The surgeon will perform an initial, primary procedure that involves placing the implant itself—a screw-like device that acts as the tooth root and supports the porcelain crown. If this is not done correctly, the implant will not stand or feel natural.
This structural process is called osseointegration. A well-trained and experienced oral surgeon will place prophylactic acid, which is an antibiotic, to reduce the risk of this process failing.
A common issue with dental implants that are not placed properly is a perforation. Perforation refers to damage caused by the implant to the surrounding structures. It can cause increased pain after the procedure and ultimately, failure of the implant.
If the implant is not placed properly, this is much more likely to occur. The anatomic structures that can be injured include:
- Maxillary Sinus
- Inferior Border
- Lingual Plate
- Labial Plate
- Inferior Alveolar Canal
Perforation can lead to infection and sinus pressure. It is best to go with an oral surgeon who can prevent internal damage to avoid these serious problems.
This is the most common complication that affects patients after the dental implant procedure is performed. Infection to the area is usually quite visible. An abscess, fistula, suppuration, inflammation, or radiolucency will be visible. Those who have an infected implant will notice pain at the site and may run a fever.
If you notice these signs, see your oral surgeon as quickly as possible. Infection is easily treated if it is found at an early stage. Infections can easily spread to the rest of the body if left untreated. If treated promptly, however, this should not occur.
Implant Breakage or Fracture
This is one of the most serious complications that can occur with dental implants, as it cannot be fixed easily. The only way to fix the problem is by removing the screw and the surrounding porcelain. The implant typically fails because the remaining bone is not strong enough to hold a new structure.
It is easy to fix a fracture when it occurs. A fracture will only cause a cosmetic issue. If you cannot afford to have it fixed, your bite and chewing will remain normal. The problem can easily be fixed by replacing the crown.
Fracture does not have a significant effect on the bone. It is much easier for the patient to benefit from a reconstruction procedure.
If excessive bone loss occurs during or after the procedure, it will significantly destabilize the implant. A reduction in oral bones can be fixed with intervention, which may include a bone graft. It is best to have this issue fixed as soon as possible as the intervention will be more effective.
Bone loss can cause serious cosmetic issues. Black triangles will show up between the teeth, creating the look of severe gum disease.
With any surgery, nerve injury can occur. A patient may lose feeling where the nerve injury has occurred. It can cause a numb sensation that cannot be reversed in some cases. It is usually mild and just reduces the ability to feel pain in that area.
Wound Healing Failure
If the wound created by the procedure refuses to heal, this can cause excessive bleeding at the site and increase the risk of infection. Sometimes, the wound won’t heal because there is an infection at the site. This can be treated with an antibiotic.
Other complications may occur. Many of these are just as rare and treatable as the ones listed above. They include:
- Gingival Recession—the gums may recede and expose the implant
- Tissue Necrosis—the cells around the implant may die
- Dehiscence—a type of failure in wound healing that requires a bone graft
- Hyperplasia—an increase in tissue size that’s caused by increased cell production
Want To Avoid These Complications? Choose A Dental Implant Specialist
Dr. John Paul Gallardo has over 25 years of experience and specializes in dental implant surgery. Complications are rare at Dr. Gallardo’s Miami practice, due to his experience and in-depth knowledge. Dr. Gallardo has given patients all around the world smiles they can be proud of through his expertise and experience. Knowing that you’ll be able to develop trust and receive top-notch care makes calling MiamiPerio at (305)-547-8687 well worth it. Schedule your appointment today!