Dental implants are a remarkable advancement in dental research. They resemble natural teeth, are extremely sturdy, require the same maintenance as natural teeth and often can last a person’s lifetime. Dental implants are defined as “permanent fixtures of titanium posts anchored to the jawbone and topped with individual replacement teeth or a bridge that screws or cements into the post.” Dental implants got their start in Sweden but the technology and materials that are being used in North America today have been successfully used in European countries for the past thirty years.
The success rate for both upper and lower implants is extremely high. For instance, lower implants have the highest success rate at 98 percent while for upper implants it is 91 percent. However there are some adverse effects that are associated with dental implants although the good news is that there is not that many. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Sometimes dental implant surgery fails because of bacterial contamination that is to be found at the site of the implants. If the area is not adequately cleaned beforehand then this is likely to occur. In order to decrease the chance of infection occurring following the surgery, patients are often prescribed one or a variety of prophylactic systemic antibiotics. The use of antibiotics in some individuals can cause its share of adverse effects ranging from diarrhea and vomiting to more serious allergic reactions that require immediate medical attention. With the use of antibiotics comes a concern about bacteria that is antibiotic-resistant. Tests are ongoing to determine to what extent antibiotics are necessary where dental implant surgery is concerned. This issue is somewhat of a controversial one as some patients seem to benefit from the use of antibiotics after surgery while others find it a hindrance to healing and ushers in a host of other adverse side effects. Some researchers believe that prophylactic antibiotics are very effective in reducing the incidence of dental implant failures while others are still not sure. New research into these health issues is being undertaken all of the time.
Some individuals are more likely to develop infections after surgery than are others because of a comprised immune system or a metabolic disease, such as those with diabetes. Other people prone to infection following surgery include people who are at risk of, or who have a past history of, heart related infections (or endocarditis) and those who have had radiotherapy either in the area of their head or neck. Patients with any of the above conditions are often administered preoperative antibiotics before the dental implant surgery is undertaken.
Other adverse effects of having dental implants placed in one’s mouth include the discomfort, bruising and swelling that often occurs afterwards. No two people have all of the same adverse effect postoperative but most people will experience a small extent of at least one of them. Sometimes the dental implants do not integrate to a patient’s mouth. This is another way of saying that the surgery can be a total flop. The failure of surgery can depend on a number of factors but the most common ones have to do with the type of implants that are used as well as the general health of the patient getting the surgery. As a general rule, the better health a person is in, the more likely that the surgery will be a success.