Dental implants are considered the golden standard of tooth restoration because they have proven themselves to be incredibly safe and undeniably effective for more than three decades. They can be placed with little or no downtime afterward and the risk of complications is extremely low. Better yet, they can serve patients well for decades under optimal circumstances. If you’re considering getting dental implants, here’s some information from your dentist about why you should feel perfectly safe during and after the procedure.
How Are Dental Implants Placed?
A dental implant is a titanium post surgically placed in the jawbone so that a lifelike artificial tooth can be attached to it above the gumline. As it heals, the jawbone will fuse with the post through the natural process of osseointegration, providing the implant with a sturdy foundation. Dental implants can have a success rate of up to 98%.
Are Implants Right for Everyone?
Like with any medical procedure, not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants. Here are some conditions and other factors that might get in the way of successful implantation:
- Diabetes, allergies, and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis can lead to difficulty healing after surgery, possibly hindering the implant from fusing with the jawbone.
- Insufficient jawbone density can fail to provide implants with the strong foundation they need to stay in place.
- Gum disease will have to be resolved before implants can be placed. Otherwise, the dental implant is unlikely to remain securely in the mouth.
- Tobacco use hinders the healing process and promotes inflammation by restricting blood flow to the gums. Implant patients who use tobacco have a significantly higher failure rate.
- Certain medications can interfere with the healing process. For example, heartburn medications can complicate osseointegration because they alter the way the body processes calcium.
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy to the head or neck can weaken the structure of the jawbone, eroding the lifespan of an implant.
How Can I Know if Implants Are Right for Me?
The ideal dental implant candidate is a nonsmoker with sufficient jawbone density and good overall health. You will need to have a consultation with your dentist before any implant surgery can be performed. During this meeting, you should be sure to disclose your full health history. Your dentist will make sure that your jaw is suitable for implants by taking an X-ray to assess your bone density.
What Can Go Wrong with Implants?
As with any surgery, there are risks involved with dental implants, but long-term complications are rare. An improperly placed implant can interfere with a nerve, causing numbness or tingling in the lips, gums, tongue, or face. While rejection is unlikely, it can cause pain at the implant site and carry symptoms like chills, swelling, and fever. Just like with real teeth, an injury to the area of the implant can cause it to come loose. If the patient consistently neglects their oral hygiene, any implants are much more likely to fail.
If any problems occur after receiving dental implants, a patient should return to the dentist’s office immediately to address the issue. Your consultation with your dentist should mitigate any possibility of complications, so you can feel secure when you start on the path to your new whole smile.
About the Author
Dr. Sikander Singh earned his DMD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, where he was selected for the Honors Program for Medically Complex Patients. He then attended the General Practice Residency program at the York Hospital in 2006, where he received advanced training in all aspects of dentistry. His office in York, PA offers general, pediatric, cosmetic, restorative, and emergency dentistry in addition to dental implants. For more information on the safety of dental implants, contact the office online or dial (717) 755-4143.