Though dental implants are one of the best and most recent ways to replace your missing teeth, some may experience dental implant problems.

Peri-implantitis

Peri-implantitis – Dental Implant Complication

A dental implant is a metal, usually, a titanium screw, surgically placed in the jaw bone.

It mimics a tooth root and supports an artificial crown, bridge, or denture.

Dental implants have a high success rate of about 95%. [1]

However, even after careful evaluation and implant placement, sometimes, you may face post dental implant problems and complications.

Potential Complications Post Dental Implant Surgery

The problems after dental implants are broadly classified as:

Infection

It can result from smoking, bad oral hygiene, diabetes, or low immunity. It may also occur when the dentist fails to follow infection control protocols.

Symptoms Preventive Measures
Bleeding, redness, swelling or pain Follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions
Bad taste & smell or loose implant Maintain good oral hygiene [2]

Loose Implant

If the amount of jaw bone required for implant placement is inadequate, there are chances that it won’t fuse properly, causing it to become loose.

Excessive chewing forces applied during the healing period can also result in a loose implant.

Symptoms Preventive Measures
Pain & discomfort or discolored gums Avoid hard, crunchy food
Mobility Maintain good oral hygiene
Bleeding on touch Get professional evaluation twice a year

Allergic Reaction

You might experience an allergic reaction to the implant’s metal (mostly titanium alloy). [3]

Symptoms Preventive Measures
Loss of taste or tingling sensation If you suspect a titanium allergy, take a diagnostic patch test
Swelling & redness around the implant Zirconia implants can be an alternative

Other Complications of Dental Implants

Damage to the Nerve

It occurs when the implant is placed very near to the nerves or impinges it.

Sometimes the nerve can be damaged during implant surgery due to the dentist’s inexperience.

Symptoms Preventive Measures
Numbness on the implant side, including lip and chin [4] The dentist must profoundly assess the anatomy and formulate a safe treatment plan before surgery
Tingling or tickling sensation or a feeling of burning skin Select your dentist after via a rigorous research process

Sinus Problems

Dental implants in the upper jaws may sometimes protrude in the sinus cavity leading to sinusitis. [5]

Implants might also get displaced in the sinus.

An opening between the maxillary sinus & oral cavity may develop due to improper surgery. [6]

It forms a communication channel known as an oroantral fistula.

Symptoms Preventive Measures
Pain, fever, headache, swelling, or tenderness Early diagnosis & proper care can treat sinus problems
Nasal discharge or bad breath Choosing an experienced dentist can avoid such complications

Injury to the Implant Site

An injury or excessive chewing pressure might cause bone loss resulting in a loose implant.

Symptoms Preventive Measures
Persistent pain or difficulty in eating Avoid eating hard and sticky food
Swelling & redness around the implant In case of any accidental injury, visit your dentist

Long Term Problems

Peri-implantitis

It can occur from either gradual bacterial accumulation around the implant and gum line, or due to a long-standing gum disease that causes loss of bone surrounding the implant. [7]

It may loosen the implant leading to implant failure. Generally, it is the cause for dental implant showing through the gum.

Symptoms Preventive Measures
Bleeding gums & bad taste Brush twice a day
The implant may feel loose Use mouthwash
Throbbing pain around the implant site Dental floss or Waterpik can help clean inaccessible areas

Rejection of foreign body

It is rare, although it might occur when your body rejects the implant due to the normal immunologic reaction. [8]

Symptoms Preventive Measures
Fever, chills, swelling or severe pain Visit your dentist as soon as these symptoms occur, as early diagnosis and treatment are essential to avoid further complications.

What Are the Symptoms of a Failed Tooth Implant?

Dental implant surgery is an extensive procedure that needs an experienced and skilled dentist.

Implant failure is seen rarely and results from various factors, as explained above.

Early diagnosis of a failing implant is essential to avoid continuous bone loss, reducing the chances of treating it.

It affects the appearance of your implant, and if left untreated, it may become impossible to replace the failed implant.

Beware of the symptoms of implant failure and seek immediate professional help if you experience any.

Some of the dental implant failure signs are: [9]

Signs of Dental Implant Failure

Signs of Dental Implant Failure

How to Care for Your Implants

Taking proper care of the implant is essential. You should regularly brush and floss your teeth to maintain good oral hygiene.

Also, have a healthy diet and eat calcium-rich food to maintain strong bones.

How to Care for Dental Implants. Video Courtesy: TePe

Follow the instructions given by your dentist for post-operative aftercare and visit your dentist regularly for follow-up checkups.

You should avoid smoking to increase the success rate of your implants.

Smoking decreases oxygenated blood flow to the implant site which impairs healing.

When to See a Dentist

Any bleeding or swelling that persists after a week of implant surgery requires evaluation.

Although the complete healing and osseointegration process (this is when the implant fuses, or integrates into the bone) needs a few months, you should see your dentist if you notice loosening of your implant.

Also, any pain that does not subside even after a few weeks needs professional evaluation.

Erin-N-Erickson

Dental implant complications are rare, however, if they do arise early intervention is important to prevent failure.

~Dr. Erin N Erickson, DDS

Final Words

Dental implants are a long-lasting and efficient solution for replacing missing teeth and improving the quality of life.

However, there are potential risks and they are not suitable for everyone.

Therefore, a thorough examination of the patient before implant placement and proper care of the implants is crucial for its success.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, dental implants might cause sinus problems in some patients, especially when the implant is in the upper jaws.

In rare cases, it might protrude in the sinus cavity or get displaced in the sinus cavity. It can cause inflammation of the sinus leading to sinusitis.

Oroantral fistula is also believed to originate after dental implant surgery. [10]

Due to improper surgery, it is a communication channel between your oral cavity and maxillary sinus.

Closing this channel is essential to avoid food and saliva contamination. It can lead to bacterial infection, delayed healing, and chronic sinusitis.

If you suspect having a sinus problem due to an implant, visit your dentist. It can be treated with timely diagnosis and proper care.

Most commonly faced problems after dental implants are infection and healing issues, loose implant, allergic reaction, sinus issues, and nerve damage, eventually leading to dental implant failure.

Bleeding around the implant, bad taste, and breath that doesn’t go away are the signs that your implant needs immediate attention.

Yes, a failed implant can be replaced.

Close monitoring and regular follow-up are necessary to identify the signs and symptoms of implant failure.

Sometimes, only the artificial crown or prosthesis needs to be replaced, not the actual implant.

No, dental implant failure is not common. The success rate of implants is as high as 98 to 100%. [11]

However, some patients might experience implant failure for various reasons explained above.

Want a permanent fix for your implant problems?

Yes, please!