How The Success Rate Is Related To Possible Dental Implant Complications

The endosseous system of dental implants, currently the most popular system used in dentistry today, has been utilized to replace missing teeth for over thirty years. Dental implants are very successful. Dental implants are made of titanium, an inert metal that bonds with the bone and forms a very tight union. Dental implants have a 90% to 95% success rate and once placed and restored, can last for an indefinite amount of time.

Although rare, dental implant complications do occur. If the bond between the dental implant and the bone breaks, or the dental implant itself breaks, it may have to be removed. If so, it may be possible to replace the failed dental implant, either at the same time or after doing a bone grafting procedure.

There are two main reasons for dental implant complications are:

  1. Infection of the implant surface can result in disintegration of the bond between the implant and the bone. Eventually, the dental implant may have to be removed. To avoid infection at the time of dental implant placement, sterile operating techniques are recommended and most implant surgeons prescribe antibiotics after surgical implant placement.
    The oral bacteria that causes periodontal disease can also affect implants. Around implants, this infection is called peri-implantitis. Just as with the natural teeth, meticulous oral hygiene that includes brushing and flossing, combined with periodic professional cleanings are critical to prevent peri-implantitis.
  2. Excessive loading: If the forces on the dental implants are too strong or not in the right direction, the implant components can break or the bond between the implant and the bone can disintegrate. The bite on an dental implant has to be properly designed.

There are certain risk factors that may increase the risk of dental implant complications. Smoking, for example, halves the success rate of dental implants and is the number one risk factor for dental implant complications.

Also, persons that have a diminished healing ability such as people with uncontrolled diabetes may have an increased risk for dental implant complications. To reduce the risk of dental implant complications, and to prevent serious health complications from surgery, a thorough medical evaluation is required before dental implant treatment.

To reduce the risk of dental implant complications, make sure that the dentist that places the dental implants and the one that restores the dental crown on the dental implant have plenty of experience with dental implant procedures.

The success of dental implant treatment is dependent on the expertise of the dental team and the patient's ability to control plaque. With proper dental implant design and follow-up maintenance, you could enjoy the benefits of dental implant treatment for a lifetime.

By Laura Minsk, DMD

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