Postoperative Dental Implant Issues: What You Should Know

Any surgical procedure carries some risk, but when it comes to dental implants, the odds are very much in your favor. In fact, dental implants have a success rate of around 98%, which is reassuring. Statistically, you're highly unlikely to be in that other 2%, although it's very important to know the signs that something might be amiss with your newly-installed implant so that the necessary corrective action can be taken.

Immediately Afterwards

One of the most important warning signs can occur immediately after your surgery as soon as the anesthetic wears off. If you should experience sharp pain at the site of the implant, it can indicate that a nerve was inadvertently damaged during the procedure. This is not something that will benefit from watchful waiting, as the longer you wait, the more difficult this is to correct. Contact your dentist immediately. If they suspect nerve damage, your implant will need to be removed so that anti-inflammatory treatment can address the problem, while the nerve (now no longer aggravated by the implant) can heal. Your implant can be reinstalled once you've recovered.

Normal Reactions

Warning signs of a potential problem can easily be confused with a perfectly normal reaction to the procedure, which can include discomfort, swelling, bruising (generally discolored gums), and some light bleeding. However, these issues should only be moderate and will quickly dissipate. It's when they get worse that you need to take action, as this shouldn't be happening. Again, contact your dentist so they can thoroughly assess your implant and administer treatment. It's not a given that your implant will need to be removed, and your dentist will discuss this with you. It depends on the precise nature of the issue.

Later Weeks and Months

Most other signs of a problematic procedure occur in the later weeks and months after implantation. This presents as swelling at the site of the implant, often accompanied by light bleeding and pus. There is also likely to be discomfort. These signs can indicate a postoperative infection known as peri-implantitis, which must be treated immediately. Peri-implantitis can largely be avoided by following your dentist's aftercare instructions, which is why these instructions should be regarded as rules, instead of just guidelines.

In short, remember that some discomfort and swelling is perfectly normal, although sharp pain, or symptoms that don't quickly subside warrant a call to your dentist. And remember to strictly follow your dentist's aftercare instructions.

For more information about dental implants, talk to your dentist