According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, almost 70 percent of adults between the ages of 35 and 44 have lost “at least one permanent tooth to an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal or tooth decay,” making dental implants a common form of dental surgery today. Even twenty years ago, patients’ options for replacing a missing tooth were much more limited than they are today, and for the most part, consisted of removable dentures or a fixed dental bridge. Permanent dental implants changed the landscape of dental surgery forever, allowing for a new type of freedom for those requiring replacement of a missing tooth or teeth.
Dental implant surgery is one of the most useful dental technologies available to patients at this time. It not only effectively replaces lost teeth, but also enables patients to again have full use of their mouths for everything from chewing to talking. Dental implants, when placed correctly, can even help prevent issues with jaw alignment and crowding of teeth. However, as with any surgery, complications may arise for different reasons.
With a less than 5% risk of complications, dental implants are an excellent way to keep mouths both healthy and functional. Although problems with dental implants aren’t overly common, when they occur, they can be both painful, and debilitating.
Potential problems with dental implants can include site infection, insufficient bone mass, incorrect positioning of the implant, fractured implants, damage to the implant site (including gums, nerves, and blood vessels), damage to teeth, and negative reaction to medications, including pain killers, local anesthetics, and general anesthesia when indicated.
Those considering dental implants should keep in mind that the success rate for implants is over 95% — the prognoses are usually excellent for this type of surgery. In fact, even those who experience issues with their implants usually find that they are minor and easily fixed. But understanding the problems with dental implants that can arise before deciding to go forward with implant surgery is still important, as is following the orders of your dental surgeon post-surgery to ensure the best possible recovery and outcome.
– Dr. Shannon Norman-Kotre, Ann Arbor Dentist