Are Dental Implants Safe?


Patients suffering from missing teeth often wonder: Are dental implants safe? For the right candidates, dental implants are a safe way to support restorations and replace missing teeth. However, it is important to understand that every surgical procedure involves some degree of risk, and dental implant placement is no exception. Prosthodontist Neil L. Starr in Washington, D.C. explains the risks involved in receiving dental implants and how he and the oral surgeons with whom he coordinates minimize those risks for patients.

Potential Complications of Dental Implants

Potential dental implant surgery complications include:

  • Infection: Patient non-compliance, gum disease, and other issues can lead to infection at the surgical site. Any signs of infection, such as discharge coming from the surgical site, swollen and red gums, or a loose dental implant, should be reported immediately to Dr. Starr. The sooner an infection is diagnosed, the faster it can be addressed.
  • Osseointegration issues: Ideally, the dental implant post will fuse with the surrounding bone to create a supportive base for the final restoration. However, in some cases, osseointegration fails to occur. Dr. Starr conducts meticulous candidacy screenings to ensure that uncontrolled diabetes and other issues that could compromise the success of dental implant surgery are identified before recommending surgery.
  • Nerve issues: Consistent discomfort or pain at the site of dental implant placement may be a sign of nerve impingement. Dr. Starr uses advanced planning tools to determine the best placement sites for the implants and to avoid nerve impingement.
  • Sinus puncture: When performed by a trained, credentialed, and experienced surgeon, the risk of puncturing of the sinus cavity is minimal. Dr. Starr's use of advanced imaging technology and his collaboration with the area's best oral surgeons can virtually eliminate this risk.

How to Minimize Dental Implant Risks

Patients themselves can help to minimize dental implant complications by following a few specific steps. These include:

  • Following all directives and care instructions 
  • Ceasing the use of tobacco products several months before surgery and continuing to abstain for good
  • Choosing a leading dental professional with extensive experience in coordinating the placement of dental implants

Dr. Starr's use of advanced imaging technology and his collaboration with the area's best oral surgeons minimize the risks associated with dental implant placement.

Success Rates of Dental Implants

Dental implants have been found to have a long-term success rate of greater than 95 percent. With the right care, a dental implant can last a lifetime. A crown, bridge, or denture may eventually require repair or replacement, but an implant can last more than 40 years.

The surest way to experience long-lasting benefits following dental implant placement is to maintain excellent oral hygiene and undergo checkups as often as the dentist recommends. In most cases, this involves a cleaning and exam every six months, although some health conditions may require more frequent appointments.

Book a Consultation

Individuals seeking a safe, reliable way to address missing teeth are invited to set up an appointment with Dr. Starr, an internationally renowned prosthodontist and fellow of the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry. Contact his practice online anytime or call (202) 293-7177 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Starr. During every dental implant consultation, he takes time to answer all questions regarding the safety and risks associated with the procedure.