Dental implants are a popular option for many people since they’re more comfortable and convenient than dentures. Implants are a durable solution for replacing missing or damaged teeth, and they can also prevent bone loss, as well as keeping adjacent teeth more stable.
There are many benefits associated with dental implants, but you should also consider possible problems and side effects. It’s best to discuss potential complications with your dentist to make an informed decision.
Not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants. Some pre-existing conditions put you at risk for complications:
- Periodontitis, or gum disease, increases your risk of developing an infection. It’s also a condition that can damage the bone supporting your teeth or implant.
- Studies have shown that smoking increases dental implant failure rates.
- History of heart attack or stroke. Dental surgery can increase your risk of experiencing a new episode.
- Osteoporosis and other conditions affecting the bones will make implantation into the jawbone more difficult.
- Additional conditions. Diabetes that isn’t adequately managed, or kidney or liver disease, increase the risk of dental implant side effects.
Your oral surgeon will assess your individual risk factor to determine whether implants are your best option. Note that you can take steps to lower risks, like quitting smoking or getting your gum disease under control.
Common Side Effects and Problems
You should discuss dental implants problems and side effects with your dentist to get a better idea of what to expect.
Recovery and Common Side Effects
These are common side effects you will experience after the procedure:
These side effects should disappear after a couple of days with proper care.
These complications can appear shortly after the procedure:
- Infection of the implant site
- Damage to nearby teeth, tissues, or blood vessels.
- Pain or numbness in the gum or lips due to nerve damage.
- Upper jaw implants can affect the sinus cavity.
Dental Implants and Long-Term Side Effects
These complications can appear years after you have dental implants installed:
- Titanium and other materials can corrode over time.
- Metallic debris from your dental implant can cause inflammation and other symptoms.
- Peri-implantitis is a condition that resembles gum disease. It can affect gum tissues and bone.
There are some steps you can take to reduce or prevent the side effects and complications related to dental implants. Before you get a dental implant, your dentist will conduct a comprehensive review of your medical history and assess any risks.
You might need to put together a plan with your oral surgeon to address issues like periodontitis, diabetes, smoking, or poor oral hygiene.
Your dentist will also assess what kind of implant is best for you. Titanium is a popular material because it’s durable and causes relatively few complications compared to other metals. It’s also very unlikely that you’ll have an allergic reaction to titanium.
There are additional steps you should take once you have a dental implant:
- Follow your oral surgeon’s recommendations during the recovery period and schedule follow-up appointments as needed.
- Brushing and flossing can prevent plaque buildup, bacteria, and gum disease, whether you have implants or not.
- Wearing a guard at night or during physical activities can protect your dental implant and the bone surrounding it. This might be necessary if you are at risk for bone loss or tend to grind your teeth at night.
- Schedule regular checkups so that your dentist can assess your dental health and identify potential complications linked to dental implants as early as possible.
Alternatives to Dental Implants
There are other options to consider if you aren’t a good candidate for dental implants. Partial or complete dentures that can be removed are a non-invasive way of addressing aesthetic concerns. However, dentures typically aren’t as comfortable as implants and can affect speech and eating.
Bridges are another option to consider. Your oral surgeon can bond a bridge to adjacent teeth to hide missing or damaged teeth. Bridges are not as durable as implants, and this is only a good option if adjacent teeth are healthy enough.
Potential complications and side effects are topics you should bring up when discussing dental implants with your dentist. It’s important to have realistic expectations about dental implants and to be aware of the steps you can take to prevent complications from appearing during the recovery period and in the long-term.