Are dental implants safe?

Dentist discusses dental implants with patioen at Surrey Dental Implants

Are dental implants safe?

Are Dental Implants Safe?

I’m asked this a lot, and it is obviously a valid question! The simple answer is yes. Absolutely dental implants are safe.  They’ve been around since the 1960’s (in fact, the first ‘implants’ are actually thousands of years old but that’s only of interest toa titani-nerd like me).  In that time, hundreds of millions of implants have been placed.  If there were a major issue, the profession would have stopped placing implants long ago.

Now, a better question would be are dental implants safe for EVERYONE.  And the answer to that question is definitely ’no’!  Allow me to explain. Dental implants are generally successful, VERY successful.  They don’t last forever, and the biggest contributing factor as to how well they fare is how well they are looked after once they are placed and how healthy in general the patient into which they are placed.  If you’re fit, healthy, look after yourself physically and emotionally (psychological stress plays a role in implant health. I’m not joking!) and you look after your implant, there is no upper limit as to how long they can last.  I’ve seen dental implants which have been in place for 35 years and are completely healthy and functional.

If you end up unwell and end up on certain medications, this can impact how your body reacts to the dental implants.  Most factors are what are known as relative contraindications as opposed to absolute contraindications.  This means certain medications and conditions reduce the success of your implants ’slightly’.  Some conditions and medications can cause major issues.  That is why it is important to see someone with a lot of knowledge and experience to give you the best outcomes possible.

One of the more common issues I see (even then, it’s not THAT common) is allergy to metals including nickel.  Dental implants are often made of alloys, some alloys can cause issues.  So it is important you disclose to your implant surgeon if you have any metal allergies.  How do you get around this issue? Well, quite simply we use a pure metal as opposed to an alloy.  Manufacturers use an alloy because historically it makes the implant stronger.  But there is one implant brand which has figured out how to use a pure titanium and even have it stronger than the alloys.  I won’t bore you with how, let’s just say implant engineering is fascinating!

Ceramic implants, or more accurately zirconia implants, are also an option.  Zirconia implants are very different to titanium implants, many manufacturers and dentists rely on making your scared of titanium implants in order for you to demand zirconia implants (which are more expensive than titanium implants, of course.  Funny how that works, right?).  I’ll go into zirconia implants in more detail on another blog.

For now, know that implants are safe.  You just need a conversation with your implant surgeon whether they are suitable for you.

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