Are Dental Implants Safe? Risks & Side Effects Revealed

are dental implants safe

Dental implants have been used for many years as replacement for missing and damaged teeth. There are numerous tooth restoration options but implants are the most reliable and the strongest of them all. Dental implants are held tightly with a titanium implant post that is surgically implanted in your jawbone. This gives them enough strength and stability to function the same was as your real teeth. Moreover, having a strong and healthy gums plus jawbone is among the main eligibility criteria before your dentist will recommend implants as a course of treatment.

Most patients that don’t have enough healthy natural jawbone and gums to support an implant often need to undergo a bone graft before the treatment. Bone graft on the other hand is a special regenerative treatment that is used to make the jawbone and tissues suitable for dental implant. Well, dental implants do pose a small degree of risk. There are several risks and complications that are associated with dental implants, before the end of this article you’ll get to know them.

Are dental implants safe?

The thought of having a piece of metal placed in your jaw bone can be scary, especially if you are not so sure of the risks and benefits. With high advancements in technology, dental implants surgery have advanced greatly over the years. It can only be performed by heavily trained dental professionals. Provided that you are in good health, implants are extremely successful when performed by a trained dental professional.

Titanium implants are not safe for patients who have allergic reactions to any of the metals that titanium may be alloyed with such as copper, nickel, lead, iron or zinc. Implants have high success rates of about 95%, the failure rate is quite low. In order to minimize the risks, you should have healthy gums and good bone density to be eligible for safe implants.

When the implant cannot be placed in the bone sufficiently to provide primary stability of the implant, there is an increased risk of failure. The safety of the procedure may vary depending on the health condition of the patient, the dentist, how it’s done, and other factors. However, just like any other surgery, there are possible side effects and complications that could occur.

Is Bone Grafting Safe?

A bone graft is quite helpful, it plays an important role in the durability of the implant by providing more needed support. Remember, bone grafting is only recommend for patients who do not have enough healthy jawbone and tissues to support the implant. During a bone grafting treatment, your dentist will take some small piece of bone from elsewhere in your body (usually the chin or hip) to place inside your jaw to help support the dental implant.

However, bone grafting has its own risks but the benefits are paramount. Here are some of the risks that are associated with bone grafting:

  • Pain and discomforts: to carry out a bone graft, the surgeon will have to take some bone from your hip, chin, or elsewhere. After the treatment the area where the bone is taken from will be tender and possibly cause lots of pain and discomforts.
  • Infection: Infection is a considerable complication of bone grafting. Infection can occur in the affected area, presenting as an abscess, fistula, suppuration, inflammation or radiolucency.

Are Titanium Implants Safe?

Titanium dental implants are strong, they can resist high bite pressure and may even last for a lifetime. The implant material is very much more affordable than other available materials. Titanium has a great oxide layer that helps fight corrosion, it’s a biocompatible material making it safe in the body. Titanium implants are highly recommended because it allows your jawbone heals in and around it through a process called osseointegration. But they are not without risks, there are some dangers when using titanium implants.

Risks Of Titanium Implants

  • Corrosion: Under acidic conditions, it is possible for your titanium implant to interact with other metals in your mouth in a process called galvanic corrosion. Even though titanium implants are built to fight corrosion, they can actually corrode under extremely acidic conditions. It can be dangerous and uncomfortable for the titanium of your implant to corrode. If such a thing happens, the dentist may need to be replace the implant.
  • Galvanic Toxicity: it’s possible for you to experience galvanic toxicity from titanium implants. Having a persistent metal taste in your mouth and sometimes even the sensation of an electric charge when you encounter other metals are some of the common signs of galvanic toxicity.
  • Titanium Allergy: most patients experience severe sensitivity and allergic reactions to any of the metals that titanium may be alloyed with which includes copper, zinc, lead, iron or nickel. Having a titanium implant when you are allergic to the materials contained in the implant can lead to severe discomforts and sensitivity. If you know that you have allergic reactions to titanium, it’s necessary to let your dentist know as early as possible before the implant.

Risks Of Dental Implants

When it comes to the safety of dental implants, the benefits outweigh the risks. Dental implants are safe only when it’s done properly by a trained dental professional with the right materials. Provided that you are eligible for safe implants and also that your dentist knows what he is doing, implants are safe. However, if the implant failed, there are possible several risks and complications that could surface. Here are some of the risks of dental implants:

1. Infection

It is possible to develop an infection, or have nerve damage at the site of your implant. When placing an implant where a tooth has just been extracted, it is important that the site should be allowed to healed completely before the placement. Infection can occur in the affected area, presenting as an abscess, fistula, suppuration, inflammation or radiolucency. Also, if the infection goes untreated it can easily spread to some vital organs in the body and lead to systemic infection.

2. Excessive Bone Loss

Some factors can lead to excessive bone loss in the area of the dental implant, this can negatively affect the the stability of the implant. Bone loss between the implants and natural teeth can also lead to the appearance of black triangles between the teeth, which are not aesthetically pleasing and increase the difficulty of keeping the teeth clean.

3. Perforation

Sometimes, when a dental implant is not placed properly in the jaw, it can injure the nearby anatomic structures. The perforation can affect the maxillary sinus, inferior border, lingual plate, labial plate, inferior alveolar canal, or gingival. In rare cases, the implant can perforate the maxillary sinus cavity and lead to sinus problems and infections in the area in the future.

4. Failure to Integrate

Normally, after placing the implant post into the jawbone, the bone and the tissues surrounding the implants are given enough time to heal, regrow and fuse with the dental implant. As the fusion between the bone and implant increases, it provides the much needed support and stability to the implant. However, insufficient primary stability can lead to failure of the implant. This failure in integration is common when the implant was not placed in the bone or tissues sufficiently to provide primary stability to the implant.

Bottom Line

Are dental implants safe? Yes they are safe, there are risks though but the benefits outweigh the risks. Dental implants have a success rate of about 95%, this is indeed higher than that of other available tooth replacement options. The primary way to keep your dental implants healthy and strong is by keeping your gums and jawbone healthy and strong.

To be eligible for safe implants, there are certain special requirements, you should have healthy gums and good bone density to support the implant, your level of dental hygiene should be high. If you have allergic reactions to titanium implants or suffering from diabetes, cancer, bone degradation or healing problem, it’s always important let your dentist know earlier before your implant surgery.

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