Dental Implant Surgery: What are the Risks Involved?
Over the years, dental implants have been considered as one of the best ways to replace decayed or missing teeth and restore one’s smile. Compared to the conventional dentures, dental implants are deemed the long-term and natural-looking alternative.
Regardless if you’re missing just one tooth or several, dental implants can be the best option available for you. However, just like any procedure, the dental implant procedure can also come with some potential risks.
Some of the most prevalent dental implant surgery issues can include infection, sinus problems, nerve damage, and injury to the teeth and blood vessels. While considered a generally safe procedure, it is still recommended that you speak with your dentist regarding any advice that’s tailored for your needs.
Infection is typically caused by bacteria that gets under the gum during treatment. An infection typically occurs when a decayed tooth is removed so the implant can be inserted and bacteria from the damaged tooth is left behind.
It can also occur if the implant is not placed accordingly and there is a gap between the bone and the implant where the bacteria enters.
Infection that can occur after dental implants
Oftentimes, dental implant infections develop in the gums. They can make the gums appear swollen and red. In some cases, the gums will leak pus or bleed. Other infections however are rare and can occur in the jawbone. This leads to bone loss.
Dental implant infections in the gums is not unusual. They are also generally minor and don’t last for very long. Fortunately, most infections will respond well to a short course of antibiotics.
Blood Vessels Damage
During dental implant surgery, surrounding teeth and blood vessels might get damaged. However, this is very rare as dentists are usually able to check for any potential issues using X-rays and a thorough examination of the teeth before the procedure.
How much damage/injury can occur
It is possible that the root of the nearby tooth can get damaged while a hole is drilled in the jawbone. While this rarely even happens, when it does, it can result in damaged blood vessels. If you have concerns regarding this risk, talk to your dentist about it. Better yet, work only with a dentist you trust.
Treatment for damaged blood vessels or teeth may require a cap or filling to close the hole in the tooth and protect the pulp. In the event that the pulp has been damaged, a root canal may be recommended to provide protection against further damage and infection.
Damage to the sinuses can occur during dental implant procedures involving the upper jaw. The bones in the face are hollow and the faces inside them are referred to as sinuses.
If there is not enough bone for the implant to be inserted, the bone can get perforated. If this happens, damage to the sinus occurs and might result in sinus infection.
How to Reduce the Risks of Dental Implants
While dental implant risks are rare, it is important to observe safety measures to minimize the likelihood of infections and other possible risks and complications from developing.
Reducing risks before the procedure
- List down all the possible questions you have including the possible risks involved and discuss them with your dentist during the planning stage. Fortunately, most dentists will thoroughly examine the mouth and take CT scans and X-rays to ensure any possible risks and complications are averted.
- If you are a smoker, it is likely that you will be asked to quit smoking prior to the procedure. Doing so can help ensure you’ll have a better chance of healing. Smoking has been known to limit bone growth and delay healing.
- Ensure you maintain good oral health. Brush and floss at least twice daily. The better your oral health is, the higher your chances are of experiencing dental implant success.