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The Potential Risks and Complications of Dental Implants: Navigating the Journey

In this blog post, we will explore the potential risks and complications associated with dental implants, as well as tips for patients on how to minimise these risks and ensure a successful outcome.
Admire Dental Butler
Dr. Karthik Lakkaraju
March 10, 2023

Dental implants are an increasingly popular and effective solution for replacing missing natural teeth or broken teeth. They provide a natural look and feel and can greatly improve a person’s quality of life. However, like any medical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with dental implant surgery. Patients need to be aware of these risks before undergoing the procedure and be prepared to navigate the journey.

In this blog post, we will explore the potential risks and complications associated with dental implants, as well as tips for patients on how to minimise these risks and ensure a successful outcome.

Summary of The Content

  • Dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing or damaged teeth, but they carry potential risks and complications.

  • Patients undergo a pre-implant assessment to evaluate their oral health, including their bone density which will determine the type of implant that will suit their needs. 

  • Surgical risks include infection, bleeding, and nerve damage. These can be mitigated with proper planning and execution by experienced dental professionals.

  • Patients should seek medical attention for persistent symptoms.
  • Post-implant complications should be monitored.

  • Long-term risks include implant failure and peri-implantitis, which can be prevented by proper oral hygiene and regular check-ups.

  • Patients with medical conditions must be transparent with their dentists. This way, their dentists can design or modify their treatment plan in consideration of their medical history.

  • Dental implant maintenance includes regular check-ups, proper oral hygiene, and following post-treatment instructions to reduce the risk of complications.

Pre-Implant Assessment: What to Expect

Before dental implant placement, the dentist will perform a comprehensive pre-implant assessment to evaluate the patient’s dental health. This assessment typically includes a detailed examination of the mouth, teeth, and gums, X-rays, and other imaging tests to evaluate if there is adequate bone density and structure.

Potential complications that may affect the implant treatment’s success will be identified during the assessment. For example, patients with periodontal disease or those who have experienced bone loss may experience implant treatment difficulties, which can increase the risk of dental implant failure. These issues may be identified through X-rays and other diagnostic tests, and the dentist will work with the patient to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

It is also important for patients to inform their dentist of any pre-existing medical conditions that may impact the treatment process. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or auto-immune disorders, can affect natural bone growth and the ability of the implant to integrate with the jawbone. In such cases, careful planning and modification of the implant treatment plan may be needed to accommodate these conditions and minimise implant risks.

A pre-implant assessment is an essential part of the implant treatment process. By identifying potential complications early on, the dentist can modify the treatment plan to minimise the risk of implant-related complications such as dental implant failure. However, the patient’s role is also critical. Patients must be transparent about their medical history and follow the dentist’s instructions to achieve a successful treatment.

Surgical Risks and Complications

Dental implant surgery is generally considered a safe procedure. It is an effective tooth replacement that makes use of implant posts that act as an artificial tooth root where false teeth will be attached. However, like any surgical procedure, it carries risks and complications. The majority of risks associated with this dental surgery can be mitigated with proper planning and execution by experienced dental professionals.

Dental implant surgery carries the risk of infection, bleeding, and nerve damage. However, these risks are rare. They can be minimised by using sterile techniques, antibiotics, and careful manipulation of the surrounding tissue. 

The success of dental implant surgery also depends on the bone density and health of the jaw bone. If the jaw bone has inadequate bone density to support the implant post, osseointegration failure may occur, and this may lead to dental implant failure. In such cases, the dentist may recommend the use of bone grafts before proceeding with the implant treatment.

Patients can also take steps to minimise the degree of risk associated with dental implant surgery. It is important to carefully follow all pre-surgery instructions, such as avoiding certain foods and medications, before this minimally-invasive procedure. Patients should also attend all follow-up appointments as scheduled to monitor the healing process and detect any potential complications early.

Post-Implant Complications: What to Watch Out For

After dental implant surgery, patients may experience discomfort, such as pain, swelling, and bruising. These symptoms can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications and ice packs. However, in some cases, patients may experience more severe complications, such as infection or implant failure. It is important for patients to monitor their symptoms closely and to seek medical attention if they experience any of the following:

  • Persistent pain that is not relieved by medication
  • Swelling that does not improve after a few days.
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Implant becoming loose or dislodged.
  • Fever or other signs of infection


Smoking and other lifestyle factors can also increase the risk of post-implant complications. Patients who smoke or use tobacco products should quit before dental implant therapy. This can help minimise their risk of infection and implant failure. Additionally, maintaining good oral hygiene and following proper dental care instructions provided by the dental professional can help reduce the risk of post-implant complications and promote a successful treatment outcome.

Long-Term Risks and Complications

While dental implants are known for their durability and longevity, patients should be aware of potential long-term risks and common complications. One of the most common long-term risks is implant failure. This occurs when the implant does not successfully fuse with the surrounding bone, which a variety of factors, including infection, smoking, or lack of bone density, can cause. Another potential complication is peri-implantitis, a form of gum disease that can lead to inflammation and bone loss around the implant.

Dental implant maintenance is essential for the longevity of the implant and should include regular dental visits and proper oral hygiene practices like brushing twice daily, flossing daily, and using an antiseptic mouthwash. Patients should also avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, which can increase the risk of implant failure and other complications.

Dental professionals may recommend replacing or repairing the implant if these complications occur. This process may involve removing the implant and replacing it with a new one. In some cases, performing an additional surgery, like a bone grafting procedure, can help augment the insufficient bone density to provide better support for the implants.

When to Seek Professional Help

It is essential to consult with an experienced dentist for dental implant therapy, as they can provide a successful treatment option tailored to your unique needs. The dentist will evaluate your oral health and medical history to develop a personalised treatment plan that maximises the chances of success while minimising the chance of failure.

It is crucial to seek professional help if you experience any issues after the dental implant procedure. This includes persistent pain and swelling, chronic bleeding, or any signs of infection. It is also important to attend regular check-ups with your dentist to monitor the long-term success of the implant and address any potential complications before they become severe.

Ignoring any symptoms or delaying seeking professional help can lead to further complications, ultimately compromising the success of the treatment. Therefore, if you experience any issues, contact your dentist as soon as possible to receive the appropriate care and avoid any further complications.

Tips on Minimising the Risks

Proper care and maintenance of tooth implants are crucial for minimising the risk of complications and ensuring their longevity. Here are some tips on how to take care of your dental implants:

  • Practice good dental hygiene:
    Regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash can help prevent plaque and bacteria buildup around the implants, reducing the risk of infection and implant failure. However, remember to exercise care when cleaning around the implant during the first few days to avoid traumatising the area.

  • Avoid smoking:
    Smoking constricts blood vessels reducing the blood flow in the area, which can increase the risk of implant failure and other complications. If you smoke, consider quitting to improve the chances of a successful treatment outcome.

  • Attend regular check-ups:
    Regular check-ups with an experienced dentist can help detect potential problems early on and prevent them from developing into more serious ones. Your dentist can also provide a personalised treatment plan based on your unique needs and help you maintain proper oral hygiene.

  • Follow post-treatment instructions:
    After the implant procedure, your dentist will provide specific instructions on caring for your implants during recovery, such as having a soft diet for a few days after surgery. Follow these instructions carefully to minimise dental implant complications.

  • Be aware of potential risks and complications:
    Knowing what to watch out for and when to seek professional help can help minimise the risk of implant failure or other complications. Be sure to inform your dentist if you experience any unusual symptoms or problems after the procedure.

Dental Implants and Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can increase the risks of dental implants. For example, diabetes can impact the natural bone growth process, leading to bone damage and weaker jawbones, making dental implant surgery more challenging. Auto-immune diseases can increase the risk of implant failure and implant treatment difficulties due to the body’s immune system attacking the implanted device.

Fortunately, dental professionals are trained to adjust the implant process to accommodate these conditions and reduce the risks of dental implant failure. They may require more detailed assessments to evaluate the patient’s overall health status and modify the treatment plan to suit their needs. For example, diabetic patients may need to control their blood sugar levels and monitor their condition more closely during implant therapy. In contrast, patients with auto-immune disorders may require medications to suppress their immune system and prevent implant rejection.

Patients need to inform their dental professionals of any medical conditions they have and any current medications they are taking before starting the implant process. This way, the dental team can develop a personalised treatment plan and help eligible patients achieve successful dental implant treatment outcomes. In some cases, alternative dental treatments may be recommended for ineligible patients due to their medical conditions.

Dental Implants Compared to Traditional Teeth Replacement Methods

While traditional teeth replacement methods, such as removable dentures and bridges, are still popular, dental implants offer a more stable and natural-looking option. However, as with any dental procedure, there are risks and potential complications to be aware of.

Dental implants have a lower risk of damage than conventional dentures and may provide a more successful treatment outcome. Dentures may slip or become uncomfortable over time, while implants are anchored securely into the jawbone. Additionally, dental implants can stimulate natural bone growth, which can help prevent bone loss and maintain a strong jawbone.

Bridges, on the other hand, require the adjacent teeth to be altered, which can weaken them over time. Dental implants do not require any alteration of surrounding teeth; they can also provide a more natural look and feel.

Proper maintenance and care are essential for the success of dental implants. Regular check-ups with an experienced dentist and a personalised treatment plan can minimise the risks of dental implant complications. Patients with medical conditions should consult with their dental professional to determine if they are eligible for dental implant treatment and to discuss any necessary adjustments to the implant process.

Final Thoughts

Dental implants are a viable and successful tooth replacement option for patients experiencing tooth loss. However, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and complications associated with the procedure. The risks of dental implants include infection, implant failure, and nerve damage, and dental implant maintenance is critical for ensuring the longevity and success of the implants. It is essential to work with an experienced dentist to create a personalised treatment plan that considers any pre-existing medical conditions that may impact the success of dental implant therapy. While there are risks associated with dental implants, they remain an effective and long-term dental treatment alternative to traditional teeth replacement methods, such as dentures or bridges. Schedule a consultation at Admire Dental Butler to learn more about the risks and dental implant complications.

dr lakkaraju


Dr. karthik lakkaraju

Dr. Karthik sees joy in his work to transform patients’ smiles through his comprehensive treatment plans. His years of experience have earned him a good reputation for improving oral health.