Dental implants are strong, biocompatible fixtures made of medical grade titanium, that act just like natural tooth roots. They are anchored within the jaw bone and support fixed or removable tooth replacements.
Examples of replacement teeth include a single crown attached to an implant to replace a single missing tooth, or a bridge that is fixed to implants where multiple teeth are missing.
In an edentulous arch (where all teeth have been extracted), an implant-supported hybrid denture can be used to replace the whole row of teeth. Compared to traditional dentures, implant-supported dentures have better retention and stability, therefore they feel and function more like natural teeth.
When one tooth or several teeth are missing or when the whole jaw is completely without teeth. Various treatment and implant solutions are available.
Dental implants are safe if done correctly and in the hands of a skilled professional. However, there are several factors that determine its success rate; hence the initial consultation is important.
Complications and risks from dental implants are rare, but if they do occur, they include:
Infection at the implant site
If you smoke or practice poor oral hygiene, the risk of getting an infection increases
As most dental implants are made of titanium, they may cause allergy reactions in patients who are allergic to titanium. As such, please inform your dentist if you have a titanium allergy so he/she can use another material.
Inadequate bone support
This happens when the jawbone fails to heal properly around the implant. This failure can be caused by a number of factors, including smoking, low bone density and uncontrolled diabetes.
Injury to surrounding structures, such as other teeth or blood vessels or sinus cavities
Nerve damage, which can cause pain, tingling or numbness in your teeth, lips or chin
The best way to find out if your implant is in good condition is to visit the dentist regularly. It’s also recommended to take an X-ray of your implant annually.
Good oral hygiene such as brushing and regular flossing will keep the gum and bone around your implant healthy. This reduces the chance of ‘peri-implantitis’, which is an infection in the gum tissue and/or the jawbone surrounding an implant.
Biting on hard foods like nuts or chewing on ice can cause physical failure of the implant itself. This can be in the form of a broken abutment screw, or a fracture of the replacement tooth attached to the implant.