Are Dental Implants Safe?

Dental implants are among the safest way to replace the gap created by a missing tooth. Proven to be safe and effective for replacing a missing tooth, dental implants have been widely used for more than three decades. The success rate for this procedure is more than 95 percent. However, it is important to be aware of the full procedure, as well as its potential risks, before deciding to get a dental implant.

Ensuring the safety of dental implants begins in consultation with your dentist. Good candidates for the procedure have no untreated dental issues, along with healthy gums. Patients with serious health issues, as well as those who smoke or chew tobacco, may experience a lower success rate for dental implants than other patients.

Your dentist will use x-rays and other tests to make sure that your mouth is healthy enough to receive dental implants. He or she will pay particular attention to the amount of bone in the jaw, as there must be enough to support the underlying structure of the implant. These steps are necessary to make the dental implant process as safe as possible.

During the dental implant procedure, a small hole is drilled in the jaw bone, enabling the surgeon to insert a titanium screw. The screw is left to heal for several months, during which time it forms a bond with the natural jaw bone through a process called osseointegration. The most common risk of dental implants is failure of this screw to fuse with the bone, in which case the screw may either be removed or left for a longer period of time to allow more time for it to bond with the bone.

Other risks concern the surgery required to place the screw in the jaw bone. During this procedure, a nerve in the lower jaw could be injured, resulting in temporary numbness in the chin and lower lip. When the missing tooth is in the upper jaw, there is a risk of drilling into the sinuses or nasal cavity. In addition, there are risks common to all surgical procedures, such as infection. However, with proper preparation including x-rays, these risks can be mitigated, making the dental implant procedure as safe as possible.

Placing any foreign object into the body comes with a risk of infection or rejection. However, dental implant materials are carefully selected to minimize this risk. The screw inserted into the jawbone is titanium, which is considered to be biocompatible.

Many dentists consider dental implants to be the safer alternative to leaving a gap where a tooth has gone missing. When a tooth is missing, the remaining teeth drift towards the gap, which can cause long-term problems. As such, surgery to place a dental implant in this gap may actually be safer than leaving the gap alone.

When performed by an experienced dental implant surgeon, dental implant procedures are among the safest of all dental surgeries. This is one of the strongest methods available to replace a missing tooth, resulting in a replacement tooth that looks, feels, and works like a natural tooth.

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