Dental Implant Problems

While the surgery for receiving dental implants has a high success rate, it is not a viable solution for all patients. In some cases, the surgery can result in long-term complications.

A dental implant is used as a long-term replacement for a missing tooth or multiple teeth. The actual implant is a titanium screw which is surgically placed into the jawbone. Over time, typically a few weeks to a few months, the implant fuses to the jawbone. Once it is fused, the implant is able to adequately support an artificial tooth or crown.

Nearly 3 million people throughout the United States have one or more dental implants. Dental implants are becoming increasingly popular with about 500,000 patients receiving an implant annually.

The following article will review possible complications and long-term challenges which can occur from implant surgery.

Possible Complications

Various potential complications can occur after a patient undergoes implant surgery. The following are a few of the most prevalent issues which can develop following the surgery.


As with any surgical procedure, these it a risk of infection. It is important for patients to use caution and follow the dentist’s recommendations for aftercare in order to reduce the risk of infection.

The treatment for an infection will vary based on the severity and specific location of the infection. As an example, a bacterial infection which exists in the gums may require antibiotics or a soft tissue graft. The presence of a bacterial infection in the bone may include the removal of the infected bone tissue or the implant. This may be followed by a bone and/or soft tissue graft.

Gum Recession

For some patients, they find that the gum tissue which surrounds the implant may begin to recede. When this occurs, it can lead to inflammation and pain. In order to prevent permanent damage and further issues, it is important to seek prompt attention from the dentist for treatment.

Implant Fit

Within the first few weeks after the implant surgery, the actual implant will begin to fuse with the jawbone. This is a process which is called osseointegration. Osseointegration is critical to ensure a successful outcome of the implant and can take a few weeks to a few months to complete.

In the event that the implant does not properly fuse to the bone, it will need to be removed. In some cases, the dentist may be able to make another attempt at the implant procedure once the area is healed.

Tissue and Nerve Damage

While it is rare, in some cases, the dentist may accidentally place the dental implant too close to a nerve. This can result in numbness, tingling, or pain which may be permanent.

Other Issues

While they are less common, implant surgery can also result in other issues, such as sinus problems and damage to the actual dental implant.

Damage to the Implant

Just like the natural teeth, when there is excessive force or impact, it can result in the dental implant cracking or becoming loose.

Some patients place excessive force to the dental implant without being aware of it. This is especially common with patients who grind their teeth when they are sleeping. Patients who are prone to bruxism should wear a bite guard at night to prevent damaging their teeth.

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