Over 3 million Americans have undergone a dental implant procedure. This is according to the AAID, American Academy of Implant Dentistry. The majority of these implants are successful with AAID reporting a success rate of 98%.
However, sometimes, dental implants problems occur. Fortunately, virtually all of them are treatable. Most of these problems occur during the early stages of the healing process.
It is important that you understand the different dental implants complications, their causes, and how you can avoid them.
Here are causes of dental implant problems and the complications they can bring;
1. Problems Arising From Surgical Technique Used
A well-trained dental implantologist should make the surgical procedure feel easy. This is because they have the needed knowledge of proper surgical methods to ensure the procedure is comfortable and that healing occurs as intended.
When you are operated on by someone who has no experience or proper knowledge about dental implants then complications and infection of the area operated are likely to occur.
It is important that you do thorough research of the best dentists in your locality. Check reviews and try to get referrals as well. Be aware of the cleanliness of the office and the follow through of its staff; these can be a red flag of lack of professional standards.
Keep in mind that a dental implant is a surgical procedure and thus should be carried out by a professional dentist. All the aseptic and sterile procedures must be observed to lower the chances of infections from the tools used.
2. Infection and Poor Healing
The mouth has a lot of bacteria, and thus can easily develop an infection. You can expect mild pain, discomfort, and swelling for 1-4 days after the procedure has been done. However, anything beyond that signifies there is something wrong with the implant, and you should talk to your dentist.
Many issues involved with poor healing and infections emanate from a patient failure to follow all the post-surgery instructions given by a dentist. On rare occasions, an infection may develop a month after surgery. This may be because of an underlying issue that was not detected during evaluation. If an infection is detected early, it is dealt with accordingly to increase the chances of success. Smoking should be avoided (and vaping).
Here are several signs of dental implant infection;
- Bad breath/bad taste that persists
- Bleeding or pus of the implant area or gums
- Difficulty in chewing
- Loose implant
- Red or swollen gums
- Pain or fever
- If you experience any of these signs, call your dentist immediately.
3. A Medical Condition Affecting the Healing Process
If you suffer from diabetes, gum diseases, or cancer, you may experience delayed healing. This can also happen with people who smoke or drink alcohol or those using other medications meant to treat different ailments.
You must be honest with your dentist regarding a pre-existing condition you may have before they perform a dental implant procedure on you.
4. Tissue and Nerve Damage
This may be caused by accidental damage when the implant was being placed. If an implant is positioned too close to the nerve endings, the nerves might get damaged, resulting in discomfort, chronic pain, and numbness in the area of operation.
In most cases, if not dealt with early, nerve damage can be permanent. Ask your dentist about the pain you should expect beforehand so that you can use their explanation as the reference point to judge against.
In case you experience more pain than expected, immediately talk to your dental practitioner to have the area checked.
5. Micro-movement of Dental Implants
Dental implants should be immobile for several weeks to allow osseointegration to occur. Any slight movement hinders the bonding process between the implant and the jaw bone.
Your implant is more vulnerable during the first 8-12 weeks as it is still growing into the bone and soft tissues. If movements happen, they can be painful, and you could end up being operated again.
To prevent this, follow the dietary guidelines and recommendations given by your dentist. Keep in mind that you may need to be on a liquid diet for some time to allow your implant to bond with your jaw bone (osseointegration).
6. Failed Osseointegration
Although it is a very small percentage, it is a usual cause if a failure does occur. It occurs when the implant doesn’t bond to the jawbone. After a few months, the dental implant should be firmly anchored into the jawbone. This is what is called osseointegration.
Here are a few major reasons why the implant may fail to fuse successfully into your jawbone:
- Lack of enough bone density and volume
- Wrong position of the dental implant
- Fracturing the implant
- A hit on the face
- Damaged bone structure around the implant
- If the implant becomes loose, you need to see your dentist immediately to see if care can prevent infections.
7.Failure to Follow Your Dentist’s Instructions
Failure to follow your dentist’s post-surgery instructions can lead to dental implant problems or failure. Some of the instructions given include reducing physical activities, maintaining good oral hygiene, following a liquid diet plan, and taking your medication as prescribed.
Failure to follow these instructions can lead to loosening up your implant or infections around the operated area. Again, smoking/vaping is ill-advised.
At times, the surgeon may decide to place the abutment and crown on a patient’s implant immediately after the first operation.
Normally, dental implants are a two-stage procedure, and the reason for this is to give the implant time to integrate successfully with the jawbone before adding the crown and abutment. When loading is done immediately after the first operation, this means that complications may occur.
When a surgeon conducts the two procedures in one setting, this places undue stress on the implant, thereby making it hard for the osseointegration process to occur. Patients must be good candidates for a one-stage implant (immediate implant) and perhaps with immediate loading (restoration).
Dental implants are the best tooth-replacement method. However, just like anything else, there can be problems/complications. Most of these problems can be avoided by working with an experienced professional.
If you have any medical condition, discuss them beforehand with your dentist. Also, follow all the instructions given by your dentist.
Fortunately Dr. Kiser is a highly trained specialist and board certified implantologist, who maintains his educational standards through continuing education and seminars. He stays current on state of the art technology. He has practiced successfully in the Mansfield, Ohio community for over 16 years.