Dental implants are a groundbreaking modern solution to a problem that's historically worried humans: tooth loss. What problems are common with dental implants? What can I do about them myself, and what requires a professional? We're here to address your most pressing questions and concerns around tooth pain and other problems associated with dental implants.
Common Dental Implant Problems and How to Treat Them
Dental implants are a high-tech solution used to replace your missing teeth. Your natural tooth root is replaced with a titanium screw that fuses to your jawbone during the implant process. This titanium “root” acts as an anchor for a dental restoration, typically either a crown, bridge, or dentures.
These permanent solutions can improve your chewing and speaking ability, along with your look. Even better, they don’t get cavities (but still require proper care to avoid other problems)!
Reasons your dental professional may recommend dental implants include:
- Fractured or broken teeth
- Excessive tooth wear from grinding your teeth (also known as bruxism)
Helpful tip: If you’re considering implants, it’s a great idea to consult with your dental professional regarding any risk factors that may affect the likelihood of complications. They should outline the chances of success and help you assess whether the procedure is a good option for your individual needs.
According to the United States Cleveland Clinic, implants are considered safe – there’s only a 5% chance that you will reject your implant. Although these risks are usually slight and can be treated by your dental professional, various complications can arise.
Complications of dental implants can include:
- Pain or tenderness around the implant
- Damage to blood vessels, teeth, or other tissue
- Nerve damage leading to pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation
- Issues with your sinuses (in cases where the implant is placed in the upper jaw).
The full process of getting dental implants can take several months as it can include tooth extraction, preparation, implantation, healing, and placement of the restoration. For this reason, it’s important to give yourself the best chance of successful healing and integration of the implant with your natural bone.
Your risk for complications may increase if you:
- Are in poor health, regardless of age
- Smoke or use tobacco products
- Have diabetes, leukemia, or another chronic illness
- Have received radiation therapy in the past
- Do not follow the aftercare instructions provided by your dental professional carefully.
- Do not take medications as prescribed.
Important note: We recommend contacting your dental professional if you experience signs of problems, unusual swelling, tooth pain, or have a difficult time chewing or speaking after your implant procedure.
Implants can provide a lifelong solution for some, while others may experience complications or require additional treatment. Even though the implants and restoration are not natural teeth, your diet and oral care routine are still essential in maintaining your health and their long-term success.
Treatment for complications like loosening or other problems typically includes removal and reimplantation by your dental professional. It may reassure you to know that even if your implant fails, reimplantation is successful about 90% of the time.
You can reduce your chance of complications with dental implants by:
- Avoiding smoking and tobacco products
- Preventing gum problems through proper diet and oral care
- Brushing for two minutes twice daily
- Cleaning between your teeth using a flossing device once daily
- Scheduling regular visits with your dental professional
- Properly caring for your dental restorations
- Not grinding your teeth (consider a mouthguard at night to help reduce the damage).
If you’re experiencing discomfort or a small amount of swelling after your procedure, there are some home remedies you can make use of. It’s important to remember that reducing pain doesn’t treat the underlying cause, so it’s important to consult your dental professional.
Steps to reduce discomfort following dental implantation:
- Avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods that could irritate your sensitive mouth
- Take over-the-counter medications as instructed on the packaging
- Use a cold compress or ice pack by applying it to the affected area outside your cheek for 20 minutes, three times a day.
Dental implants have positively affected the lives of many, thanks to the ability of titanium to integrate into your bone. Even though your restorations can't get cavities, it's important to maintain a proper diet and dental routine to avoid complications. By reading this article, you've acquired a comprehensive understanding of the benefits and risks of dental implants.
The above information on home remedies is provided for informational purposes only. Colgate does not accept any liability should the above recommendations have an outcome contrary to the intended result. Always seek the advice of a qualified doctor or dental professional. Do not disregard professional advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read in this article.