Dental implants are a safe option for adults and elderly people in good health. It is one of the most advanced dental procedures available today. Apart from helping to preserve the bone in your jaw, they mimic your natural teeth identically while giving you the ability to chew all types of food comfortably.
Due to the nature of the dental implant procedure, however, it’s understandable when patients raise questions with respect to the safety of implants. While the risk is minimal, we want to put your mind at ease and address some of the main concerns we hear from our clients.
Are dental implants safe long-term?
Yes, they are! It is a safe procedure with a high success rate. In fact, there are so many benefits to getting implants, specifically relating to your health, that those far outweigh the risks.
Implants are the best option for preserving the bone in your jaw. They provide your mouth with an artificial tooth root that strengthens the bone every time you chew. Subsequently, it retains a strong foundation for the surrounding teeth. In contrast, removable dentures only provide you with a tooth replacement solution but they do nothing to maintain the jaw bone density.
Implants can also last a lifetime. Since the titanium screw is placed within the jawbone, it is not exposed to the oral environment directly, therefore making it less likely to become infected or damaged.
You can read the complete list of benefits here, but for this article, we’ll discuss some potential risks.
Are dental implants toxic to the body?
Implants are made from either titanium or zirconia, both of which are biocompatible materials that are non-toxic and adapt well to the human body. Titanium is made of titanium alloys and zirconia is a crystal material that is metal-free.
These materials fuse themselves perfectly into the jaw bone in a process known as osseointegration, making it nearly impossible for the body to reject it.
Both of these materials possess a unique ability to resist corrosion. When exposed to air, titanium auto-generates a layer of titanium oxide which protects the metal from exposure to the elements that may otherwise cause it to corrode. Zirconia is treated with a passive oxide film layer that protects it from future deterioration.
These implants are made up of strong materials, so the possibility of them fracturing is extremely low. This makes them safe for patients who grind their teeth, but it’s important to continue wearing a dental guard while sleeping if that’s the case.
Which risk factors are associated with implants?
Like any dental procedure, there are a few risks to consider when getting implants. If you experience any of the following complications, contact your implant dentist as soon as possible.
- Allergic reaction: Although it is extremely rare, some patients are allergic to titanium. Placing titanium implants will inevitably result in long-term exposure. If you have any concerns or are allergic to other metals, it is recommended that you take a blood test in order to determine possible sensitivities. Those who have titanium hypersensitivity can opt for zirconia implants, which are hypoallergenic and the next best alternative option for replacing front teeth.
- Slow healing or dental implant failure: The success of the implant procedure highly depends on the patient’s health status. Potential complications may arise in patients who experience medical conditions like an autoimmune disease, chronic illness, gum disease, uncontrolled diabetes, insufficient jawbone support, bone loss, some types of cancer, poor oral hygiene, and smoking. In the event that any of these health conditions exist, your dentist will discuss a suitable treatment method for you before the implant procedure.
- Post-operative infection: The soft tissue surrounding the implant site should not remain sore or swollen after the initial two-week healing process. Gum inflammation, discoloration, bad breath, and/or pus are signs that the implant may have gotten infected.
- Bacterial overgrowth: Bacteria can grow wherever there is moisture and warmth, and the mouth is no exception. Once the implant procedure is complete, it is important to follow the doctor’s instructions on oral health in order to prevent the growth and spread of bacteria.
- Loose implants: It takes approximately 4 to 6 months for implants to fuse themselves to the jawbone. If your implants have shifted, are loose, or it hurts to chew properly, this could indicate an infection or misplacement.
- Injury to the surrounding area: Choosing an experienced dentist is vital when getting dental implants. Some doctors promote cheap implants but their sloppy work can cause long-term issues that will cost more to fix later on. An inexperienced dental surgeon may accidentally harm the adjacent teeth, blood vessels, sinus cavities (when the implant is placed in the upper jaw), and cause nerve damage.
Dental implant placement requires careful planning and a thorough evaluation. Dr. Delwyn Dick DDS and Dr. Lamont Murdoch DDS have over 25 years of experience in cosmetic dentistry. You can rest assured that our dental team at Kootenai Dental Group in Coeur d’Alene, ID, is your safest bet when it comes to dental implants.
What is the success rate of dental implants?
When it comes to the replacement of missing teeth, dental implants are the superior choice in terms of oral health, aesthetics, and comfort. They have a success rate of 95% and higher. The success of a dental implant relies heavily on a person’s good general health, including a strong immune system, good oral hygiene, healthy gums, and enough bone in the jaw. The failure rate of less than 5% is generally attributed to the patient’s health or improper placement by an inexperienced oral surgeon.
At Kootenai Dental Group in Coeur d’Alene, ID, you can expect to receive an appropriate treatment plan that meets your specific needs.
We will be happy to help you make an informed decision and determine if you’re a good candidate for a dental implant procedure. Call us at 208-762-8750 for a free consultation today!