Are Dental Implants safe?

Dental implants are considered safe for the majority of people. Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, should check with their health care provider prior to having dental implant surgery. Fortunately, most individuals with these conditions will receive the green light for the procedure, as long as certain precautions are met. Dental implant surgery is not recommended for children as their jaws have not yet reached full growth.

What Risks are associated with Implant surgery?

As with any surgical procedure, there are some health risks associated with dental implant surgery. Complications are relatively rare and when they do occur they are generally mild, requiring minimal treatment. A complication is defined as a secondary condition that developed during or after implant surgery or prosthesis placement. The occurrence of a complication does not necessarily indicate (and most of the time does not indicate) that substandard dental care was provided and also does not necessarily mean that clinical failure has occurred. Dentistry tries their best to prevent such risks.

Possible health risks associated with dental implant surgery include:

  • Infections around the Implant area
  • Damage to surrounding teeth or blood vessels
  • Nerve damage
  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Sinus problems
  • Relines of Over-dentures
  • Fractures of fixed long Bridges
  • Abutment and prosthetic screw loosening

How To Prepare For Implant Surgery?

A comprehensive dental exam and evaluation is required before the procedure can take place. This will include dental x-rays and taking a mold of the mouth to make a model of the mouth. A variety of specialists, including oral and maxillofacial surgeons, periodontists and doctors will help to create your personal treatment plan.

It is important to speak with your doctor about any underlying medical conditions you have and to list all of the medications, both prescription and over the counter that you are taking, as well as any herbal or natural supplements. Individuals with certain heart conditions and those with orthopedic implants may have to undergo antibiotic treatment prior to having the surgery.

Prior to the surgery, you will have the chance to discuss with your doctor the different anesthesia options available. You will have a choice of local, general or sedation anesthesia. Together, with your dental specialist and health care team, you can determine which option is the best choice for you.

What can I expect from an Implant surgery?

Dental implant surgery is performed in several stages, with the entire process lasting anywhere from 3 to 9 months. Much of this time includes time off for healing and the growth of new jaw bone. The first surgery involves the placement of the dental implant cylinder into the jawbone. A rest period of a few months follows. The next surgery involves the placement of the abutment and the new artificial tooth. Another healing period then follows.

Some individuals will require a bone graft surgery prior to having dental implant surgery. This is common in individuals who have a jawbone that is too soft or is not thick enough to sustain the implant. During a bone graft, a piece of bone is taken from a different part of the jaw or another part of the body and is transplanted to the jawbone. Dental implant surgery is generally performed as an outpatient procedure. It is performed in a dental office or in a hospital, with no overnight stay required. The amount of surgeries required is very specific to the individual and varies accordingly. No matter how many surgeries are required, you may experience certain side effects after each one, including:

  • Swelling of the gums
  • Swelling of the face
  • Pain at implant site
  • Bleeding

These side effects are relatively mild and often improve shortly. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or pain medications. You will be instructed to eat only soft foods for up to one week. Self-dissolving stitches are typically used.

Considerations

Occasionally, dental implant surgery is not successful. If the bone does not fuse to the implant, it will have to be removed and the procedure can be repeated. Maintaining good oral hygiene after dental implant surgery can help decrease the risk of complications and problems that may arise with dental implants.

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