If you have missing teeth, you may find yourself asking the question: Are dental implants a safe option? Dental implants are an increasingly popular solution to replace missing teeth, but how much do you really know about dental implant surgery? When you’re ready to make a difference in your smile by replacing a missing tooth, it’s important to explore all of the options available to you. Seek the appropriate dental advice to ensure that you are choosing the correct – and safe – solution for both your smile and your overall health and wellbeing.
A brief overview of dental implants
For those that may not be familiar with the ins and outs of dental implant surgery, you should understand what’s involved before you make a decision. Dental implants replace a missing tooth’s root with a titanium post that looks and function very much like natural teeth. The overall longevity of dental implants and their resemblance to your natural teeth make them a viable option for many patients. However, this is a surgical procedure that does not come without some inherent risks. It’s important to discuss the risk factors with your implant dentist before any work is done.
Exploring the safety of dental implants
When performed by a reputable and qualified dental professional, dental implant procedures have an extremely high long-term success rate. Your implant dentist should review your dental history and determine if you are at a higher risk for some of the potential complications that can arise from the procedure.
Before patients can qualify for dental implant surgery, they should be free of any active gum disease. Gum disease, when left untreated, can lead to damage of the gums and jaw bone – and these are both vital components of a successful dental implant procedure. Any active gum disease should be successfully treated before getting a dental implant. Otherwise, patients may experience implant failure. A full oral health evaluation can determine whether or not you need additional treatment.
It’s widely known that smoking is detrimental to your overall health, but it can also affect the success of a dental implant procedure. This is because smoking can restrict the blood flow to the gums, which will slow the healing process. If you are a smoker, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are ineligible for dental implants – but it is strongly recommended that you stop smoking prior to dental implant surgery, and remain smoke-free for several months afterward to ensure proper healing and implant placement.
Jaw bone density
Since dental implants are inserted into patients’ jaw bones, sufficient jaw bone density is important for successful dental implant surgery. Your dentist should assess the density of your jaw bone before approving you for an implant procedure. What can cause bone loss in the jaw? Severe gum disease is a primary cause, and osteoporosis can also decrease bone density.
Pre-existing medical conditions
Some pre-existing medical conditions can affect the success of dental implant surgery. When looking for advice on the diagnosis or treatment of your missing tooth, you should share your medical history with your dentist. Some autoimmune diseases or conditions like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis can affect dental implant success rates, in that they play a role in slowing the body’s natural healing process
What if you need a bone graft?
Sometimes a patient’s jaw bone volume is insufficient to successfully support a dental implant. In these cases, bone grafting may be necessary before dental implant surgery can be performed. This is because the titanium implant needs a solid foundation to be able to withstand the day-to-day pressure involved with supporting a tooth – talking and chewing can put a large amount of pressure on your jaw bone. Without adequate support, a dental implant is unlikely to be successful.
Bone graft materials can be taken from another location in your body in order to rebuild your jaw bone. Alternatively, synthetic or allogenic bone material may also be used. With either of these options, patients may need several months’ recovery time from the bone graft before the area is ready to support a dental implant. While this may delay the overall implant process, this treatment is very common and has a very high success rate and predictability.
What to expect from bone graft recovery
If you should require a bone graft prior to your dental implant procedure, there will be some additional recovery time involved. It’s important to properly care for the area, to ensure the success of the procedure and to set the stage for the dental implant.
- Do not touch or disturb the location of the bone graft. It needs adequate time to heal.
- To allow for graft stabilization, avoid rinsing or spitting for several days after the procedure.
- Though many patients find it tempting, do not lift or pull on your lip to examine the sutures from the bone graft. This can cause damage to the wound or tear the sutures.
- Inflammation and swelling can be a common but normal side effect as this is a sign of normal healing and assimilation.
Do dental implants hurt?
There’s no universal answer to this question. Dental implant surgery is, after all, a surgical procedure – and there is always the risk of some pain or discomfort during and after the surgery. Dental implants are no exception to this. But many patients let the fear of the pain keep them from moving forward with the procedure.
The fact of the matter is that dental implants likely don’t hurt as much as many people would expect them to. During the dental implant surgery, you will be given local anesthesia, so you shouldn’t feel any physical pain in the areas being operated on. Once the procedure is over and the numbness wears off, you may feel some aching or discomfort – but many patients report that it feels more like a nuisance than anything else. The pain associated with dental implants can, in most cases, be compared to that of a simple tooth extraction or root canal.
Relieve dental implant discomfort
If you experience pain or discomfort after your dental implant procedure, there are some things you can do to minimize the effects.
- Follow your post-surgical instructions carefully.
- Use an ice pack on the outside of your mouth to help reduce any potential swelling.
- Use proper oral hygiene to help avoid infection and keep your mouth clean.
- Stick with soft foods for a few days, or as directed by your oral surgeon.
- If the pain becomes too much for you to handle, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dental professional.
Answering the question: Are dental implants safe?
Now that you know more about some potential complications and risks associated with dental implant surgery, it’s time to answer the question. Are dental implants safe? And the answer is yes – dental implants are a safe treatment for missing teeth. Dental implants, much like your natural teeth, will last and remain healthy as long as you properly care for them. Dental implants are made from titanium, and that metal is biocompatible with the human body. As far as replacing your missing teeth is concerned, dental implants are the most secure and long-lasting option. They are also the only method that stimulates your natural bone – which adds to the longevity and overall natural feel of the replacement teeth.
Dental implant surgery, when performed by a qualified dental specialist, is a safe procedure. Since it’s such an intricate process, great care is always taken to ensure the highest level of comfort possible while minimizing any potential risks.
To ensure that you have a safe and positive experience with your dental implants, it’s important to know your risks. Be sure to seek treatment for any potential gum disease or bone density issues prior to the surgery. Practice good oral hygiene before and after the procedure. Patients that keep all of this in mind are well on their way to a beautifully restored smile.
Contact us today to explore your dental implant options.