Over the past several years, more and more patients from the Austin, Texas area and all across the country are choosing dental implants as a way to replace missing teeth, or to act as anchors for dental appliances. This cutting-edge technology involves implanting a metal rod into the jawbone of the patient, letting that metal fuse to the patient’s natural jawbone, then placing a crown on top of the implant to replace the missing tooth. While there’s no doubt that dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth, many people ask the same question: Are there any risks involved in getting an implant?
Why Dental Implants Are Safe
Although the dental implants procedure has only been widely used by dentists over the past several years, the technology has actually existed for quite a while. Over the course of time, the procedure has evolved to include very specialized and advanced technology. But it’s not just the technology that has evolved: the training and skillset of the dental professionals performing these procedures has as well. All this adds up to a procedure that is extremely safe for the dental patient, thanks to technological advancements and the experience of the dentists performing the procedure.
Advantages of Dental Implants
Implants provide many benefits for the dental patients, including the following:
- Implants are permanent. Because the titanium rods are implanted into the patient’s jawbone, the implant acts very much like a natural tooth root.
- Implants are durable. Under most circumstances, dental implants last for many, many years – often for the lifetime of the patient.
- Implants are easy to care for. Because dental implants can’t be removed by the patient, they can be cared for in just the same way as the patient’s other natural teeth – by brushing and flossing each day.
- Implants don’t slip. Unlike some other appliances that can slip and move around inside a patient’s mouth – such as bridges, partials or dentures, for example – implants don’t move at all. This means that the patient is spared the embarrassment of a dental appliance slipping when he or she speaks or eats. Because there is no slipping, this also makes implants a great choice as anchors for other dental appliances.
- Implants improve quality of life for the patient. Because implants are permanent, durable and don’t move inside the patient’s mouth, it means the patient can enjoy whatever foods he or she would like without worry. And implants are made to look exactly like the patient’s teeth, so no one will ever have to know that the patient has any form of dental appliance or restoration whatsoever. This increases the patient’s self-confidence and greatly improves the quality of the person’s life overall.
Risks of Dental Implants
While it’s true that dental implants are by-in-large extremely safe for the vast majority of dental patients, that doesn’t mean that there are no risks involved in getting dental implants. Although problems with the procedure and/or negative side effects of dental implants are rare, some people do experience difficulties. Here are a few of the risks that a small number of people may experience as a result of the dental implant procedure:
- Allergic reaction – Most implants are made of titanium. And while it is not common, some people may have an allergic reaction to this material. If you suspect that you might be allergic to titanium, or if you have ever experienced any type of allergic reaction to any metal, you should tell your dentist before you have a dental implant procedure.
- Galvanic toxicity – Another quite rare condition occurs with galvanic toxicity. A very small number of patients might experience symptoms such as a taste of metal and/or the sensation of a tiny electric shock when encountering other metals.
- Infection – If the site of the implant is not properly cared for after the procedure, an infection may result. Your dentist will provide you with instructions on how to properly care for the implant incision after the procedure, and as long as you follow these instructions, developing an infection is very unlikely.
- Titanium corrosion – The titanium used in dental implants is designed to fight corrosion, but it can still happen over time as the implant wears down and the metal degrades. In most instances, a corroded implant will need to be replaced.
Sinus issues – Having a dental implant may increase your risk of developing a sinus infection, particularly if you have experienced these types of problems before. If you have a history of sinus problems, make sure to tell your dentist before you undergo a dental implant procedure.
- Damage to nerves, blood vessels and/or teeth – In rare instances, a patient may experience damage to facial nerves, blood vessels or other teeth as a result of a dental implant procedure. This type of situation would normally not occur as long as your dentist is experienced with dental implants. To avoid this, just make sure you choose a dentist with extensive training and several years of experience in performing dental implant procedures.
- Dental implant rejection – A small number of patients may experience dental implant rejection, which occurs when the body rejects the implant. Symptoms typically include pain and/or swelling at and around the site of the implant, chills and fever. Once again, this is a rare problem, but it is a remote possibility for some patients.
Although there are some risks involved with dental implants, the vast majority of the patients are extremely happy with the result of the implant procedure. It takes several months to complete the process – from the time the implant is initially placed until the time it fuses to the bone and the crown is affixed to the top of the implant – most patients believe it is well worth the wait. These innovative tooth replacements are durable, permanent, require no special care and look just like your natural teeth. For more information about dental implants, and to find out if you are a good candidate for a new dental implant, talk to your Austin, Texas dentist today!