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Four Common Dental Implant Problems

Four Common Dental Implant Problems
Author: Posted: April 18th, 2022 Category:

Dental implants are an effective modern solution to an age-old problem — missing teeth. But implant surgery also involves a small risk of complications.

Dental implants have been used successfully for decades as an alternative to dentures for replacing missing teeth. A near-permanent solution, implants work and look like your natural teeth, allowing you to speak and chew normally.

But dental implants require going through oral surgery. Multiple procedures are needed before the implant is complete. Like with any surgery, there is a rare chance of complications. But don’t let that deter you from exploring implants if you need to replace missing teeth! Learning about possible dental implant problems can help you work with your dentist to mitigate risks and safely complete the procedure. 

Four common dental implant problems

The first step in a dental implant procedure is removing the tooth’s root. The dentist will insert a titanium screw into the jaw where the root once was. Once the screw has fused with the jawbone, an abutment is attached to it. A dental crown is then attached to the abutment, and you have a natural-looking tooth. This entire process could take months.

Before implantation, your dentist will examine your teeth, gums, and overall health. If you have gum disease, you’ll need to treat it before our dental implant procedure. Chronic diseases such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis could slow the healing process, which increases the risk of an implant failure. 

Fortunately, the chances for failure are very slim and would usually develop soon after the implant is complete. Swift treatment can prevent problems from worsening. Here are four common complications that could develop from a dental implant:

Infection. As with any surgery, infections can occur. Watch for signs of swelling or fluid draining from the gums around the site. Alert your dentist immediately to any signs of infection for treatment.

Insufficient Bone Support.  The titanium screw must bond with the jawbone for the implant to fit securely. This osseointegration process can take several weeks. Before surgery, your dentist will decide if you have enough bone mass to fuse with the implant. If you don’t, you may need a bone graft. The implant and bone can fail to connect in some cases, causing the implant to loosen or fall out. If the implant fails, your dentist will recommend either attempting a second implant or using another option, such as dentures.

Nerve Damage. Dental implant surgery could damage nerves, resulting in pain and numbness. A series of X-rays before surgery will pinpoint where the nerves are so your oral surgeon can avoid those areas. 

Sinus Damage. Implants in the upper jaw can potentially damage the sinuses. If it juts into the sinuses, the implant could become infected and painful. Building up the bone mass before surgery prevents sinus damage. Your dentist could perform a sinus augmentation to make room for a bone graft.

Preventing dental implant problems

A thorough examination before implantation will determine whether you’re a good candidate for the procedure. But you can ensure a successful implant by following these tips before and after the procedure:

Practice Good Oral Hygiene. Although the implant won’t decay, your natural teeth still might. Be sure to brush and floss daily to keep your existing teeth and gums healthy. Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash can prevent infection.  

Use a Mouthguard. If you grind your teeth, a mouthguard at night could prevent damage.

Stop Smoking. Tobacco interferes with the healing process, which increases the risk of failure. Talk to your doctor about a smoking cessation program before the implantation.

See Your Dentist Regularly. You still need regular dental checkups with implants. Report any signs of implant failure (infections, loose implants) to your dentist immediately. 

If the implant does become painful and swollen, you can try some at-home remedies to reduce the pain until you see your dentist. Apply ice to the area to reduce swelling. Over-the-counter pain medications can also alleviate any discomfort. 

Proper care and planning decrease the risk of a dental implant failure, but regular good oral care also ensures your dental implants last a lifetime.

Let’s talk about implants

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Oklahoma City location today! Our highly trained dentists can help you with every step of your dental implant procedure and recovery. Don’t live near our Oklahoma City office? Find one of our other locations near you.

Oklahoma City, OK
12448 St Andrews Drive
Oklahoma City, OK 73120