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What Are The Risks of Having Dental Implants?

Dental implants have been around for a long time. In fact, they were first invented all the way back in 1952. With so many years perfecting the procedure, modern dental implant surgery is one of the most advanced treatments for replacing missing teeth. Millions of people have dental implants each year, with an impressive success rate of over 97%. With those statistics, it comes to reason that the risks are certainly manageable. However, it’s worth being aware of what could go wrong, so you make sure that yours have the best possible chance and you can keep that smile firmly planted on your face. 

So, What Are the Risks?
While dental implants are a successful treatment option, they do involve surgery. And, as with any surgery, there are associated risks. However, the vast majority of risks are minor and easily treatable, and the more serious complications are extremely rare. If you are considering having dental implants, you should be aware of the following:

  • Swelling – after surgery, it is normal to experience some swelling and discomfort on the face and gums. 
  • Bruising – bruising on the face and neck is again normal after implant surgery, especially if you have multiple implants. 
  • Infection – as implants are an invasive procedure, there is a risk of infection at the implant site. This is normally easily diagnosed and treated. 
  • Injury –  while it is rare, there is a risk of damage to tissues, teeth and blood vessels when incisions are made into gums. 
  • Nerve damage – again, this is very rare and shouldn’t be permanent. Nerve damage causes numbness or tingling in the teeth, gums and lips. 
  • Sinusitis – as implants are placed in the upper jaw, sinuses can be affected. The problem can usually be treated, however. 
  • Implant failure – unfortunately, there is always a small chance of failure. If implants don’t heal properly or fuse to the bone, they will need to be removed.

Most of the risks of dental implants are minor and can be treated with the likes of painkillers, antibiotics, mouthwash, antibiotics and deep cleaning. The worst-case scenario, in the majority of cases, is that the implant will need to be removed. However, that doesn’t mean that the surgery can’t be reattempted once the site has healed. 

How to Minimise the Risks of Dental Implants
As well as most of the risks of dental implants being minor and certainly treatable, the risks can be minimised. The best way you can do that is by choosing an experienced implant dentist. Your dentist will carry out a comprehensive dental exam, review your medical history and plan a personalised treatment plan. This will help you to ensure there aren’t any pre-existing conditions that will impact your treatment and that preventative measures can be taken to reduce any risks. As part of the dental exam, the dentist will take 3D x rays so they can see the dental structures, soft tissues and nerve paths. This allows them to assess the quality of the bone and to plan the required space to place the implant safely. 

The other thing you can do to minimise the risk of complications is to listen to your dentist’s instructions. Good oral hygiene, including not smoking, is vital to give dental implants the best chance of healing and integrating with the jaw bone successfully. Your dentist will advise you to eat a soft diet while the site heals and can advise as to pain medications to take to help with any minor discomfort. And, don’t forget to rest after the procedure; you’ve just had minor surgery, so, put your feet up for a bit. 

The Risks of Doing Nothing
Ultimately, if you’re suffering from missing or damaged teeth, the risks of doing nothing will far outweigh the risks of having dental implants. Missing teeth can impact the health and position of your remaining teeth, your facial aesthetics and your self-esteem. As long as you visit an experienced dentist and listen to their advice, implants should be well worth the risk. 

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