What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a titanium post that acts as an artificial tooth root.  An implant can be used to support an individual tooth or several implants can support a fixed bridge or stabilize a denture.  Implants are surgically placed in the bone.  Afterwards, a device called an abutment is attached to the implant.  Then, an abutment acts as an artificial tooth on which single crown, a fixed bridge, or removable dentures connect.


Who should get implants?

Almost anyone can get implants.  However some conditions called “risk factors” are known to reduce success rates of implants.  Risk factors include but are not limited to:

·          Smoking and smokeless tobacco- Products from cigarettes, cigars, and chemicals in tobacco add substantial risk to the success of dental implants, especially during the healing phase.  Smokers should not be surprised if their implants fail.

·         Diabetes- Better diabetic control can lower the risk.

·         Insufficient bone- In some cases where there is not enough bone to support a dental implant, you may receive a bone graft.  Bone grafts are made from real or artificial materials.  The bone is either harvested from cadavers, bovine, or synthetically derived.

·         Location-Where the dental implant is placed affects the success rate. For example, if the ideal location happens to be in the same place as a main nerve bundle, the location must be changed. This may affect the line-up of crowns or other appliances placed on the implant, causing a higher failure rate. 

·         Medications-Some medicines used to treat heart disease, long term bisphosphonate use (to treat or prevent osteoporosis), and some other medications are risk factors of varying degrees. 

·         Bruxism (grinding and/or clenching your teeth) may cause dental implants to fail by introducing unusual forces.  There may be options to assist with this problem. 

·         Poor oral hygiene-The same bacteria that cause most people to lose their teeth are still in your mouth.  Failure to clean your mouth properly can cause a dental implant to fail. 


Risks: A small number of implants do not work.  If an implant fails, we can often try to place it again.

As with any oral surgery, other risks include but are not limited to: complication from surgery or medications and anesthetics, infection, bleeding, swelling, pain, facial discoloration, permanent numbness of the lip, tongue, teeth, chin, or jaw, jaw joint injuries, muscle spasm, tooth looseness, tooth sensitivity, shrinkage of the gum tissue that may expose the root or implant surfaces, cracking of the corners of your mouth, limited ability to open your mouth, changes in speech, allergic reactionsinjury to adjacent teeth and/or crowns, bone fracturessinus penetration, delayed healing, accidental swallowing of foreign matter.  Though most complications are reversible, some are irreversible.


Depending on your treatment plan, Dr. Kiser will provide you with detailed information regarding the type of dental implant you will be provided as well as the benefits and risks in your case.