Dental Implant Risks and Complications: What You Should Know

Dental implants may be one of the most popular tooth replacement options available today, but they are not without drawbacks. Before you decide to undergo a dental implant procedure, it is important that you understand the potential risks and complications associated with them.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the most common dental implant risks and complications, so you can make an informed decision about whether or not dental implants are right for you. If you are considering a dental implant procedure, read on for more information.

dental clinic, women dentists in blue suits and hats performing an oral operation

Dental implants are considered a safe and effective option for missing teeth. However, as with any surgery, there are always risks and complications.

Mild pain and swelling are common after dental implant surgery. These side effects usually resolve within a week or two and can be managed with an ice pack or over-the-counter pain medications.

The most common risks associated with dental implant surgery are as follows:


Infection is one of the most serious risks that may occur with dental implants. If bacteria are introduced to the surgical site and the wound is not properly maintained, it can lead to an infection. If not addressed immediately, infections can be life-threatening. For these reasons, it is important to carefully follow your dentist’s instructions for oral care after the surgery.

Signs to look out for include:

  • Fever
  • Severe pain or swelling around the implant site
  • Redness or pus around the implant site
  • Bleeding that won’t stop

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

Nerve Damage

If the dental implant procedure is not performed correctly, it can damage the nerves in your jaw. This can lead to numbness, tingling, or pain in your lips, gums, chin, or tongue. In some cases, nerve damage can be permanent.

Bone Loss

If the dental implant and the bone surrounding it do not fuse properly, it can lead to bone loss. Inadequate bone density due to bone loss can cause the implant to become loose and eventually fall out.

Sinus Issues

Dental implants can also cause problems with your sinuses. If the implant is placed too high in your jaw, it can puncture your sinus cavity. This can lead to pain, sinus infections, and other complications.

Implant Failure

Dental implant failure occurs when the implant fails to fuse with the bone. This can be due to numerous factors, including poor dental hygiene, previous dental trauma, or underlying medical conditions. If the implant does not fuse properly, it must be removed.

Damage to Surrounding Teeth

Another risk of dental implants is damage to the surrounding teeth and blood vessels. If the implant is not placed correctly, it can put undue stress on the adjacent teeth, leading to tooth decay or even breakage. In cases of severe damage, the nearby teeth may need to be removed.

While complications from dental implant surgery are rare, it’s important to be aware of the risks before undergoing the surgical procedure. Be sure to talk to an experienced dentist about any concerns you may have and discuss all possible risks, complications, and side effects before having dental implants placed.

How Often Do Dental Implants Fail?

Dental implant surgery is usually successful, but there is always a risk of complications. In general, dental implants have a long-term success rate of 90-95%. However, this does not mean that dental implant surgery is without risk.

The long-term failure rate of dental implants is generally 5-10%. Most dental implant failures occur within the first year after surgery but can happen at any time.

What Causes Dental Implant Infections?

Several different factors can contribute to dental implant infections, including:

  • Bacteria:
    Bacteria are the most common cause of dental implant infections. When dental surgery is performed, there is always a risk that bacteria will enter the wound and cause an infection. To help reduce the risk of bacterial infection, it is important to practice good oral hygiene and to see your dentist regularly for cleanings.

  • Diabetes:
    Diabetes lowers the body’s ability to fight infection and slows down healing. As a result, people with diabetes have an increased risk of developing dental implant infections. If you have diabetes, it is important to keep your blood sugar levels well-controlled before dental surgery is performed.

  • Immune disorders:
    Immune disorders can also increase the risk of dental implant infections. These disorders prevent the body from properly fighting off bacteria, which can lead to infection. If you have an immune disorder, it is important to discuss this with your implant dentist before dental surgery so they can take steps to reduce your risk.

  • Poor Oral Hygiene:
    Poor oral hygiene is another common cause of dental implant infection. Plaque and tartar can build up around the base of the dental implant. This provides a breeding ground for bacteria which can, later on, lead to gum or periodontal disease. To reduce the risk of infection, it is important to brush and floss regularly and to see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.

Are Dental Implants Safe?

The answer is a resounding yes! Dental implant surgery has an extremely high success rate, and dental implant failure is rare. In fact, dental implants are one of the safest, most effective dental procedures available today.

Of course, as with any surgery, there is always a risk of complications. But the dental implant procedure is relatively straightforward, and most patients experience no problems whatsoever.

Final Thoughts

Dental implant surgery is a safe and routine procedure, but some risks and potential complications are involved. If you are considering dental implants to replace missing teeth, it is important to be aware of these risks and complications.

That’s why we encourage all our patients considering dental implants to book an appointment with us so we can go over the risks and benefits of this treatment in detail. We want our patients to make informed decisions about their oral health, and we believe that knowing all the facts about dental implants is an essential part of that process.

At Peel Dental Studio, we are dedicated to providing our patients with quality care and excellent service. Call us today to book your appointment, or visit our website to book online.

Frequently Asked Questions

Dental implants are a popular dental prosthetic because they provide many benefits, including:

  • A more natural appearance and function:
    Unlike dentures, which can slip and shift in the mouth, dental implants are securely anchored to the jawbone. This gives dental implants greater stability and prevents them from moving around in the mouth. As a result, dental implants look and function more like natural teeth.

  • Improved eating and speaking:
    Dentures can make it difficult to eat certain foods and cause slurring or mumbling when speaking. Dental implants, on the other hand, allow patients to eat their favorite foods without difficulty and to speak clearly and confidently.

  • Increased comfort:
    In addition to the functional benefits, dental implants also offer increased comfort. Because dental implants are anchored to the jawbone, they do not rub against the gums like dentures often do. Additionally, dental implants do not require adhesives or other messy products to stay in place.

  • Improved oral and dental health:
    Dental implants offer improved dental health by preventing bone loss in the jaw. When natural teeth are lost, the bone surrounding them begins to deteriorate. Since dental implants replace the natural tooth root and crown, they help stimulate bone growth, thereby preserving the jaw bone and preventing further bone loss.

  • Durability:
    Titanium implants are durable and have a success rate of over 95%. This makes them a long-term teeth replacement option than other dental treatments such as dental bridges.

Dental implants are one of the most expensive dental procedures. The cost of dental implant surgery can range from $5,000 to $7,000 per tooth. The price may be even higher if:

  • The patient needs multiple implants.
  • There are complications with the procedure.
  • Additional procedures are needed, such as a bone graft, sinus lifts, gum graft, and tooth removal.

While dental implants are very successful, they are not suitable for everyone. The best candidates for dental implants are people who:

  • Are missing one or more teeth
  • Have healthy gums
  • Have enough bone in their jaw to support the implant
  • Are willing to commit to good oral hygiene
  • Are willing to visit the dentist regularly for checkups

People who have certain medical conditions may not be good candidates for dental implants. Pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune diseases can delay the healing process. Additionally, smokers and heavy drinkers aren’t suitable for dental implants. Smoking and alcohol are risk factors for dental implant failure.

Furthermore, studies revealed that certain medications could also cause dental implant failure. Those who are taking heartburn medications should inform their dentist about it. The same is true for those taking antidepressant medications.

The best way to know if dental implants are right for you is to talk to your dentist. They will be able to assess your case and let you know if dental implants are a good option for you.

Dental implant surgery is a relatively simple outpatient procedure, but it’s important to understand the process before proceeding with the treatment. Here’s how it works:

  1. The first step is to consult your dentist or oral surgeon to discuss whether dental implants are right for you. Your dentist will conduct an oral and dental exam and ask about your medical history.

  2. If you decide to proceed with dental implants, the next step is to have a CT scan or x-ray of your jawbone. This will help your dentist determine the correct placement for the dental implants.

  3. During implant placement surgery, an incision is made on the gum tissue. A small metal post or screw, called an implant, is placed into the jawbone. Over time, the implant fuses with the bone and becomes secure through osseointegration. This usually lasts for several months.

  4. After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, a small connector post — called an abutment — is placed on top. This piece will eventually support the new tooth.

  5. Once the implant has healed and the connector piece is in place, the new tooth can be attached. Artificial teeth, such as dental crowns or bridges, will be installed on top of the dental implants.

In some cases, the entire dental implant process can be completed in one day. However, it may take several months for the bone to heal around the implant before the new tooth can be attached.

Implants may fail if they do not fuse properly with your jawbone or are not placed in a healthy area of your mouth. If you experience any complications after dental implant surgery, it’s important to contact your dentist or oral surgeon right away.

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Peel Dental Studio

Dr. Bailey formerly served on the Australian Dental Association as President, Vice President Treasurer and Country Councillor. He was on the Australian Dental Association Federal Council and has always been keen to give back to the profession that has been his life. He has tutored student dentists at the Oral Health Centre in Perth.