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3 Titanium Implant Side Effects and How to Minimize Your Risk

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If you're missing a tooth or need to have one extracted, your dentist may recommend getting a titanium implant. Dental implants have an overall success rate of 95%, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) — but it is possible for titanium implant side effects to occur in rare instances. If you are in need of an implant, it's natural to have concerns about how this procedure may affect the rest of your mouth, and being informed can help you minimize your risks.

Titanium Implant Procedure

During a dental implant procedure, a titanium screw is inserted into the jawbone to serve as a post for the dental crown that will eventually be placed on top. Over the course of several months, the titanium post fuses to the surrounding bone as the area heals. Before you have this procedure done, your dentist or dental specialist will perform a thorough examination to determine if you are a candidate for implants.

As the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) explains, candidates for implant surgery should have good general and oral health. The area surrounding the extracted tooth needs to have an adequate amount of bone to support the implant, and the gum tissue needs to be free of periodontal disease. According to the American Dental Association, certain chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or leukemia, can interfere with the healing process. Tobacco usage is also another risk factor that can slow healing after implant surgery.

Possible Complications Associated With Implants

The vast majority of titanium implants placed by dental specialists function remarkably well — even 20 years after their initial placement, reports the AAOMS. That said, there is still always a chance of side effects during any surgical procedure. Some of the risks associated with dental implant surgery include:

  • Infection

    After implant placement, some patients may develop an infection at the site called peri-implantitis. As the AAP explains, symptoms of this condition include redness and tenderness in the gum tissue of the implant, as well as bleeding when brushing. Smokers, diabetics and people who have gum disease are more likely to develop this infection.
  • Injury to the Teeth, Blood Vessels and Nerves

    Pain, numbness or tingling in your teeth, gums, lips or chin after implant placement can sometimes be a sign that the nerves or surrounding structures may have been damaged during the surgery, notes the Mayo Clinic.
  • Sinus Issues

    Particularly for implants placed in the upper jaw, sinus problems may occur after surgery if the implant post protrudes into the sinus cavities. As described by a study in the Journal of the Korean Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, this complication can cause headaches and pain inside the cheekbones.

It's normal to experience mild discomfort after dental implant surgery, including swelling of the gums and face along with bruising of the skin and gums, according to the Mayo Clinic. There also may be mild pain at the implant site and some minor bleeding.

However, if discomfort or swelling gets worse in the days after the surgery, see your dental professional as soon as possible. Keep in mind that these side effects do not occur very often, and when they do, they can typically be treated.

Preventing Titanium Implant Side Effects

If you are in need of a dental implant, be sure to voice any questions or concerns you may have about your procedure with a trained dental specialist — such as a periodontist or an oral surgeon — in order to set yourself up for a successful procedure. As the AAOMS explains, these specialists have received extensive training and education in the complexities of the bones, skin, muscles and nerves involved in this type of surgery. They have learned the best techniques to minimize the chances of titanium implant side effects and are ready to work with you to give you a bright, happy smile.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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