Safety of Dental Implants

Dental ImplantsImplants are an excellent option for replacing teeth to regain function, esthetics and self-confidence. But are they safe?

Of course there are many factors that contribute to success of implants. However, overall success rates for implants is about 95%.

Predominant types of implants are made out of titanium or titanium alloy very similar to materials used for orthopedics and heart surgery. The reason why titanium is used for so many medical applications is that titanium is very biocompatible with bone and tissues. Risk of toxicity or harm is extremely rare due to lack of corrosion. Rejection by the body is also extremely rare. Titanium also has a unique characteristic of being able to fuse to bone.

Listed below are some of the more common factors can affect overall success of implants.

Risk Factors that Impact Dental Implant Success

  • Poor Oral Hygiene/Gum disease: Ideally, gum disease and periodontal disease should be treated before placement of implants. In these conditions, there is excess bacteria and possible infections that can affect the implant healing and bone loss
  • Smoking: Smoking inhibits wound healing and affects bone healing significantly. Studies have shown that smokers can have an implant failure rate of up to 20%. This is due to the fact that smoking restricts blood flow and circulation, ultimately, decreasing the ability to heal.
  • Insufficient bone: A successful implant also relies on sufficient bone to support the dental implant.
  • Medical Conditions: There are some conditions that cause the body to heal slower which affects bone healing to the dental implant. In addition, there are some medications, such as bisphosphonates, which significantly decreases bone healing. Discuss with your oral surgeon your health history and medications you are taking to determine if you are at a high risk for implant failure.

What will I experience if my implant fails?

  • Pain
  • Loose implant
  • Foul odors
  • Inflammation of gum tissue/swelling
  • Pus expelled from tissues around the implant

Written by Sarah Bong-Thakur, DDS, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon


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