What should you know about the complications of dental implants?

Although the techniques are becoming more precise, there are complications from dental implants. These are metal posts that are surgically placed in the jawbone so that they fuse to it and hold an artificial tooth.

In general, they have a high success rate, but there may be immediate failures to the surgeries or may occur months or years after the intervention. Here we tell you some of the problems that can occur when placing an implant, how to avoid them and the alternatives to recover your smile when this technique is not viable.

What factors influence the success of dental implants?

There are several factors that determine the success of dental implants. Here we mention some:

  • Smoke: This habit decreases blood flow to the gums, which makes healing difficult. The bibliography speaks of a failure of up to 20% in smoking patients.
  • Insufficient maxillary bone: a good layer of healthy bone is necessary to support the implant. The surgeon must ensure that there is sufficient bone tissue, without alterations and with the appropriate thickness. Osteoporosis or gum disease can affect bone density, making them more fragile. Also if the patient received radiotherapy in the area. However, today there are filling techniques that can reverse this condition.
  • Gum disease: Inflamed or actively infected gums should be treated before an implant is performed. The gums must be healthy at the time of surgery to avoid complications.
  • Medical conditions: Pre-existing systemic alterations suffered by the patient and that alter the healing process may interfere with the osseointegration of the implant. Diabetics, autoimmune patients or those with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to have a failure in these treatments.
  • Medication: some medications can interfere with the integration of the implant into the bone. It is important to mention to the surgeon all the treatments that are carried out regularly to avoid complications.
  • Poor oral hygiene: poor oral cleaning will interfere with the success of the implant. The patient who receives an implant must commit to keeping their mouth thoroughly clean.

The role of the surgeon

Surgery with a trained professional can prevent certain mistakes that an inexperienced hand can commit. It is important to ask for opinions, ask questions and find someone with a lot of experience in the field.

In addition, a correct and exhaustive treatment plan will avoid later complications. The dentist will need to perform a complete examination of the entire mouth and take radiographic images of the mouth. The health of the gums, bone and oral hygiene will be assessed. The general state of health of the patient, past illnesses, and medication taken should be considered. This will help to define if the person is a candidate to receive the implant in their mouth or if some previous adjustments are necessary.

The experience of the surgeon who will perform the implants is an important success factor.

Early problems and failures of dental implants

Early failures are those complications of dental implants that occur during their insertion. or immediately. In general, problems that occur within the first three months of the procedure are included as early. Here we discuss the most common ones.


After surgery, it is common to feel discomfort, swelling and a certain degree of pain in the area.. Even the surgeon dentist will indicate to take painkillers to facilitate recovery.

The process of integrating the metal from the implant to the bone takes between three to six months to complete. It is common to feel some discomfort in this period of bone healing. But if the pain is intense and persists after five to seven days, the surgeon should be consulted.


An infection may appear in the implant area. Signs such as swelling, pain, and suppuration require a visit to the dentist to try the same.

Poor dental hygiene, autoimmune diseases, and smoking predispose to its appearance. To avoid them, it is vital to comply with the postsurgical indications.

Your specific treatment will depend on the location, severity, and type of infection. If, for example, it is a bacterial infection of the gum, antibiotics or a soft tissue graft are usually sufficient.

If, instead, the affected tissue is bone, it may be necessary to remove infected bone tissue along with the implant. After treatment, the area must be reconstituted with bone and soft tissue grafts.

Implant micro movements

When the dental implant lacks stability, it may have slight movements. It happens when the implant is placed at the same time as tooth extraction and occupies the space of the extracted tooth.

Also these complications of dental implants usually happen when placing the artificial crown early. By not waiting long enough for it to integrate into the bone, an overload is generated that leads to this failure.

Insufficient bone support

This complication of dental implants happens when there is not enough bone to support. If the bone thickness or quality are not adequate, it cannot be integrated into the maxilla. These are generally due to a fault of the surgeon who did not take this factor into account or performed the procedure anyway.

Loose dental implant

As we already mentioned, for this technique to be successful it is necessary for the implant metal to be integrated into the jaw bone. This process of fusion between metal and bone is called osseointegration and lasts for several months.

In those cases that this does not happen, the implant will be loose. It will move and the dentist will have to remove it. Placement may be attempted again once the area has healed.

Gum recession

The gingiva around the implant may begin to recede, causes inflammation or pain. It is important to consult the dentist before any change that is noticed in it.

Allergic reaction

Some patients may develop an allergy to the implant metal, which is titanium. There will be swelling of the area, a tingling or cramping sensation and loss of taste.

If the patient knows that he is allergic to titanium, he must mention it to the surgeon to use an implant made of another material. Although in most cases the person does not know that he suffers from this hypersensitivity.

The gums can retract as a complication of dental implants.

Read also: What is gum loss?

Failures and late problems of dental implants

Dental implant complications may not immediately occur after dental surgery. But after several months or even years, failures are a probability. Among the most common we have the following:

  • Damage to nearby nerves: During surgery, the dentist may place the implant very close to a nerve. This will cause pain, tingling, numbness, tingling, or burning of the skin, lips, gums, and face.
  • Damage to the sinuses: When the implant is placed in the upper jaw, it can protrude into the paranasal sinuses and cause sinusitis. This is the inflammation of these cavities. The patient will have swelling or pain in the area of ​​the cheeks, forehead, head, eyes and teeth. In addition, you will have a stuffy nose, green or yellow nasal mucus, decreased smell, and bad breath. It can also present with a fever. In the event of any of these symptoms, after the placement of an implant, you should go to the surgeon immediately.
  • Complications of dental implants due to excessive force: If the implant receives a blow, stress or very strong impacts, it may happen that it loosen or crack. Bruxism and dental clenching cause this failure. In these cases it is necessary to complement the treatment with a mouth guard.
  • Foreign body rejection: It is one of the less common complications of dental implants, but it can occur. The body rejects the implant. There will be pain and swelling in the area, fever, and chills.
  • Peri-implantitis: It is a chronic disease of the gums that surround the implant, causing the loss of the bone that supports it. It may appear up to 5 years after the material has been placed.

There are also complications of mechanical dental implants, such as the breakage of the implanted screw or the artificial tooth. To avoid them, it is important to continue with adequate oral hygiene that keeps the gums healthy. Regular check-ups with the dentist will also make it possible to detect any problems early.

Symptoms of dental implant failure

You should pay attention to certain signs that appear when there are complications from dental implants. The most frequent are the following:

  • Swollen gums or recession of the same.
  • Constant pain in the area.
  • Swelling in the implant area.
  • Difficulty chewing.
  • Hemorrhage or bleeding at the implant site.
  • Suppuration in the surgical area.
  • Loose or moving implant.
  • Bruising or swelling of the gum or skin.
  • Tingling, tingling or paresthesia sensations.

In the event of any of these symptoms or other questions you may have after placing an implant, consult your dentist soon. Fixing these faults in time will improve the forecast.

It may interest you: Trigeminal neuralgia: causes, symptoms and treatment.

How to prevent complications from dental implants?

Although there are complications of dental implants that we cannot avoid, considering some measures we can reduce the risk of failures. It is important to take this into account and respect the advice given by the dentist.

After surgery, the surgeon may advise you to rest well, avoid strenuous exercise, and follow a cold, soft diet for a few days. The placement of cold in the area and the use of anti-inflammatories may also be suggested to reduce postoperative inflammation.

Taking care of your implants is vital to the success of the procedure. Brushing, flossing, and mouthwash are necessary to keep them healthy. Regular dental checkups are also needed. Unless the dentist indicates to attend more frequently, a visit every six months is opportune.

Avoid smoking. Preferably, eat foods rich in calcium such as dairy products, oranges and broccoli or supplements that provide this element. It may be necessary to use a mouth guard to treat bruxism and prevent occlusal overload of the implant.

Alternatives to dental implants

Dental implants must be cared for according to the recommendations of professionals.

Although they have several advantages, we have seen that there are also complications from dental implants. This procedure is not suitable for everyone, but fortunately there are other alternatives to recover the lost smile.

Dental bridges are an option. It is a fixed prosthesis that is used to fill the spaces created by missing teeth, using the healthy dental elements that remain in the mouth as support.

There are different types of dental bridges:

  • Maryland or resin bonded bridge: It is an artificial tooth with extensions on the sides (like wings) that support and adhere to the healthy teeth neighboring the space left by the missing element. It does not require a lot of wear on the remaining teeth, but it cannot withstand enough chewing force.
  • Traditional: It uses as support and support the neighboring teeth on both sides of the space left by the missing teeth. These remnants wear out and receive crowns that support the artificial ones that replace the lost elements.
  • Cantilever: Similar to the previous one, but with the difference that false teeth are supported by a single healthy element. The crown that supports the bridge will be one.

Another alternative to replace missing teeth is the use of removable dentures. These can be partial if they replace one or more dental elements or complete if they supplant all the teeth in the mouth.

Dentures consist of fixing one or more teeth to an acrylic base of the same color as the gum that sits in the mouth as a retention tray. Some are attached or have hooks to increase your support. They are a cheaper alternative to dental implants.

Complications of dental implants can be avoided

You will likely not suffer complications from dental implants if you have one, as they have a high success rate. But It is good that you know that there are failures, to prevent them.

You already know how important it is to find a specialized and experienced dental surgeon to perform implants. Avoiding smoking and good oral hygiene will be key to avoiding problems and being able to recover your smile.