Before the advent of dental implants, those with missing teeth had a few less-than-desirable options to fill in the gap. In some cases, a dental bridge with a faux tooth could be attached — as long as the teeth on either side were healthy. Bridges, however, can be unattractive and prone to cleaning and wear issues. The other main option, dentures, has the disadvantage of having to be removed for cleaning and sleeping. Along came dental implants, and they revolutionized the way dental patients dealt with missing teeth. While dental implants are, for the most part, carefree and long-lasting, some issues can pop up from time to time, particularly when the implant is new. Read on and learn what to expect and how to not let those issues sideline you.
Discomfort and Pain
Most dental implant recipients quickly become accustomed to their new teeth and any discomfort vanishes in a few days. However, implants can make gums feel sore for a week or so after they've been implanted. If the pain level is more than minor or it exceeds a week or more after the implantation process, call your dentist. You might be dealing with one of the below implant complications:
- Nerve damage — though rare, nerves can be damaged during the surgery to place the posts. Pain, numbness, or tingling should prompt a call to your dentist. In time, nerves heal and there should not be any permanent damage.
- Adjustment issues — Your dentist takes care to create an implant that matches your natural tooth as closely as possible. In some cases, however, the new tooth doesn't fit properly. That can cause pain and discomfort with eating. Don't worry, though, your new tooth can be reshaped to eliminate the bite problem.
- Infection — Infection control techniques at your dental office have never been better, but infection is still a possibility. If your gums feel swollen and sore even after several days have passed, call your doctor. A prescription for antibiotics might do the trick. In a few cases, your implant is loose and bacteria has entered the gum area. This can occur when an implant doesn't bond properly with your jawbone. In a worst-case scenario, a bone graft may be necessary to shore up your jawbone. Ideally, the graft should take place prior to the implantation, however.
- Sinus Issues — Particularly with upper implants, the post may impact a sinus area and cause discomfort. After an X-ray to see what is going on, your dentist may need to shorten the post that is affecting your sinus region.
Don't settle for an implant that is giving you problems. Speak to a dentist to learn more about dental implants.