Risks. Success rate

Risks. Success rate

Dentistry offers a variety of methods for filling edentulous gaps (spaces left after tooth loss).

Dental implants, in the case of total edentulousness (missing all teeth) or edentulous gaps (a few missing teeth), are the ideal solution due to the superior prognosis of oral rehabilitation compared to classical therapeutic methods (dental bridges, dentures).

With a correctly designed and applied treatment plan, the success rate with dental implant prosthetics is very high, with specialist statistics estimating the success rate at 95% – 98%.

Dental implants are devices designed to replace the root and provide support for the crowns of missing teeth.

The portion that is embedded in the bone, acting as an artificial root, is made of titanium, a material with a high degree of Osseo-acceptance. It is highly resistant to masticatory forces and well tolerated by the surrounding bone tissue.

The first dental implants were prohibitively expensive and were reserved for the privileged few. Over time, dental implants have become affordable for most people. Implantology thus led to the emergence of a veritable industry around it.

Competition between dental implant companies is fierce. They are investing huge amounts of money in research to improve the biocompatibility and life expectancy of implants, yet a 100% success rate cannot be achieved.

However, the percentage has been steadily increasing since this technique has been used, so that under good application and maintenance, statistics indicate a success rate of over 95%-98% at the 10-year evaluation of implants.

If you opt for dental implant prosthetic treatment, as a prospective patient you should be well informed about the risks involved.

General dental implant risks

  • Patients with uncompensated diabetes mellitus (who are not on treatment) may have a lower success rate.

  • Bruxism (involuntary grinding of the teeth) must be treated before loading dental implants, otherwise there is a risk of them being mobilized.

  • Radiotherapy applied to the jaw and mandible bones over the long term can jeopardize bone strength.

  • Insertion of dental implants is not recommended for patients undergoing cytostatic treatment.

  • Smokers have a higher risk of losing dental implants than non-smokers.

  • Poor hygiene will lead to peri-implantitis, which can lead to premature loss of dental implants.

  • Clean the oral cavity and treat caries and gum inflammation preoperatively so we have a clean oral cavity ready to support a dental implant.

  • The patient must be educated in the care of dental implants.

  • Regular visits to the dentist

However, there are no contraindications related to the patient’s age. This technique of implant prosthetics is suitable for people of any age, as long as the dentist considers that the above conditions are met and the patient can tolerate the surgery.

Dental implant specific risks

Since they are few and relative, I will list the risks and disadvantages of dental implants:

  • After tooth extraction, if needed, tissue healing will take 6 to 12 weeks

  • Between the insertion of the root part (the implant itself) and the application of the dental crown, a period of 3 months or 6 months (depending on the case) must be respected, necessary for Osseo acceptance (full healing of the bone around the implant)

  • Cost can be a drawback of this operation, but compared to the benefits and longevity, the dental implant is the ideal choice.

  • If hygiene and prophylaxis rules have not been followed intra-operatively or post-operatively, there is a risk of wound contamination and peri-implantitis, which will lead to the loss of the implant.

  • If the implant exerts pressure on the inferior alveolar nerve, or if it has severed it, the corner of the mouth will remain numb for a long period of time and there is a possibility that the sensitivity of the area may never be fully recovered.

  • If during the insertion of the dental implant the sinus membrane has been perforated and the surgical protocol for this situation has not been followed, there is a risk of loss of the dental implant and oro-nasal communication.

  • If the insertion of the dental implant has been done incorrectly and a vital neighboring tooth has been impacted by the milling, it may result in the loss of both the dental implant and the affected neighboring tooth.


The advantages of dental implants are numerous and the high success rate makes them an increasingly popular prosthetic option.

  • The stability of dental implants is represented by their firm insertion into the bone, faithfully mimicking the structure and function of the replaced tooth unit.

  • The bone, placed under load, will no longer resorb and the pre-loss size of the teeth is maintained.

  • Teeth adjacent to the space left after extraction will no longer migrate or need to be polished, thus preserving their integrity.

  • Antagonistic (paired) teeth of those protected by dental implants will no longer erupt, extrude, thus maintaining the vertical occlusal dimension. (the way the mouth closes)

  • The feeling of masticatory force is stronger than that of dental bridges, or even natural teeth. (the dental implant is an anchorage – it sits directly in the bone unlike natural teeth which have a periodontal “suspension” system)

  • The feel of the natural tooth, the way masticatory pressure is transmitted to the bone is identical to the natural tooth.

Good collaboration between doctor and patient, following instructions and regular check-ups will lead to therapeutic success and an increased rate of resistance.

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