Are dental implants risky?

The implant process is tried and trusted but care is needed before the procedure

The dental implant craze seems to be sweeping the UK and Ireland right now. This relatively new innovation has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people seeking dental implants over the past ten years. Perhaps we should not be surprised by this as they certainly offer the best option to replace a missing tooth.

Once the procedure has been done, no one can tell that it is not a natural tooth and the wearer can use it and care for it in the same way as a natural tooth. The placing of a dental implant also has a very high success rate, with over 97% of procedures proving to be a great success. Sometimes though, the implant fails. This is rarely due to the dentist lacking in expertise and is more likely to be related to the patient’s lifestyle.

Of course, if a patient has chosen to keep down their costs and travelled overseas to have their dental implant, this can increase the risk of failure quite significantly. This is not to say that all overseas dentists are unskilled; there are a great many excellent dentists overseas but the further you venture into poorer countries for the procedure, the greater the risk of finding a dentist who is less qualified to perform the procedure, and even in the better countries, there are widely differing standards of dental health care, something which is even more difficult to work out if you do not speak the language.

For those who have the procedure in the UK and Ireland though, the chances are good, especially if the patient follows the advice of the dentist. One success story we came across was a Mr Colin Tavey who had his dental implants placed in Cahir. At his initial consultation, it was agreed that a dental implant was the best option for him. However, Mr Tavey was a heavy smoker who also liked a drink or two. His dentist told him that he would not perform the procedure unless he could stop smoking and cut down his drinking. Initially, Mr Tavey was offended, thinking that the dentist was judging his lifestyle.

However, after discussions he understood that by smoking and drinking, he was greatly increasing the likelihood of infections to the area surrounding the implant which would almost certainly result in the procedure failing. Although he found it difficult, he managed to stop smoking and a few months later, had a successful procedure and is delighted with the results. He was advised that even after the healing period, he would find that the implant would last longer if he continued to refrain from smoking, something which he has, so far, succeeded in doing. Of course, not all patients are like Mr Tavey and think that they know better than their dentist and continue to smoke both before and after the procedure and then blame the dentist when the implant fails. Sometimes, it seems, we simply refuse to accept responsibility for our own health!