Are Dental Implants Safe? - Smile Stories

Are Dental Implants Safe?

are dental implants safe

Whether you’ve just begun exploring dental implants as a way to replace your missing teeth or already decided to undergo implant surgery, you may be wondering “are dental implants safe?”

To quickly answer that question, and put your mind at ease:

Yes. Dental implants are perfectly safe. 

Dental implants, in their current form, have been used for over 40 years. Over the years the procedure has been modified and perfected so it’s predictable and delivers excellent success rates. 

The implanted materials are safe. 

However, just like all surgical procedures, implant treatment has some risks and complications.  

The good news is that we know that the key to safe, successful implants is good planning and making use of modern technology.

When experienced clinicians fit top quality implants in suitable candidates, the outcome is remarkable. 

Let’s find out from the expert implantologists at Smile Stories about how safe dental implants are, the potential complications and what we do to minimise the risks.

Dental Implants have a 95% Success Rate

Dental implants have been in use since the late 1980s and are now regarded by many as the best way to replace missing teeth. 

According to the Adult Dental Health Survey conducted in 2009, at least half a million adults had at least one dental implant at that time.

Confidence in the safety of dental implants has been gained from the large number of individuals having implants fitted over the 40 years.  

If there were going to be any untoward side effects of the materials being implanted or the surgical procedure, they would be widely known by now – and the MHRA (the body responsible for regulating the UK medical devices market) would prevent the marketing and supply of implants in the UK. 

Dental Implant Materials

So what are dental implants made from?


Titanium is the most commonly used material to replace teeth and other body parts such as hips and knees.

It is strong, light and considered to be the most biocompatible metal – it’s not harmful or toxic to living tissue and is resistant to corrosion by bodily fluids.

Some people wonder if they will set off the metal detectors in airports or be able to have an MRI scan. The good news is the titanium is non-ferromagnetic – it’s revealed on X-Rays but doesn’t set of detectors. 


This is the new kid on the block.  

Zirconia implants are ceramic, non-metal, durable and long-lasting. It may offer some advantages over titanium implants, but there is no long term data on the safety of dental implants made from this material.

Dental Implant Brands

There are multiple dental implant systems for implantologists to choose between.

But only a few systems offer long term proven success rates. Smile Stories use an array of systems, including world-leading Swiss-manufactured Straumann implants

The Dental Implant Procedure

The procedure involves surgically inserting a titanium screw into the jaw under local anaesthetic. 

The implanted screw fuses with the jawbone, forming a stable artificial root. This provides the foundation for long-term support of crowns, bridges and dentures.

Fitting dental implants is a straightforward and routine procedure; but like any surgery, dental implant surgery poses some health risks. Problems are rare, though, and when they do occur they’re usually minor and easily treated.

What are the Risks?

The risks associated with dental implant surgery are very low, and complications are extremely rare.

Nerve Damage

One potential complication of any surgery is nerve damage, it can occur during and after dental implant placement.

It’s incredibly rare, and implant dentists use 3D imaging to ensure that the implant is placed safely.

Sinus Problems

The upper jaw is directly underneath your nasal sinuses. It’s possible for implants placed in the upper jaw to impinge on the sinus cavity. This complication can cause infection, headaches and pain inside the cheekbones.


Like any surgical procedure, there is a small risk of infection with implant surgery. To minimise the risk, respectable practices will maintain strict sterile techniques. You should also follow any post-surgical advice given.

Titanium Allergy

In some very rare cases, people may experience symptoms of titanium allergy. It can cause bone loss due to inflammatory reactions or hypersensitivity reactions that cause implant failure.

Damage to Surrounding Structures

If you have decay or root damage in the neighbouring teeth, the implant procedure could make the issues worse. Any dental caries should be addressed before implants are fitted. 

How We Minimise the Risks

According to The Royal College of Surgeons of England 

“Many nerve injuries can be prevented through better planning and execution of procedures; and thorough post-operative follow-up to ensure that any problems are treated as early as possible”.

Here at Smile Stories, we use advanced technology to protect our patients from damage to nerves and the sinus cavity.

We plan properly, and the process always begins with 3D imaging and digital x-rays to assess the quantity and quality of your jaw bone. 

This allows us to measure your jaw bone with accuracy. The chances of drilling too deep and severing the nerve or placing the implant into your sinus cavity are eliminated. 

If our highly skilled implantologists are concerned that there isn’t enough bone to perform the implant procedure safely we might suggest a sinus lift or bone graft. This will make the jaw bone thicker and/or longer. 

Long Term Complications of Dental Implants

Dental implants can be affected by peri-implantitis which is similar to gum disease that affects natural teeth.

Poor oral hygiene, ill-fitting implants and poorly designed implant systems can lead to peri-implant mucositis, which is similar to gingivitis. At this stage, the implant disease is treatable and reversible.  

However if left undetected or untreated, it can develop into a more serious disease called peri-implantitis. It can cause deterioration of the bone around the implant. If not treated the implant could become loose and fall out. 

Who is Most at Risk?

Those with a history of gum disease, smokers and those with certain health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and impaired immune function have a greater risk of developing peri-implantitis.

It’s important to tell your implant surgeon about your oral and medical history. That way they can make the correct decision about your suitability and type of implant treatment.

How You Can Prevent Peri-Implantitis

Following the directions of your dentist and creating a superb oral hygiene routine where you brush and floss twice a day will help minimise the risk of peri-implantitis. 

Attending regular dental and hygiene appointments will ensure that any issues with the stability of implants can be detected and prevented. 

How the Advanced Techniques Used by Smile Stories Can Help

Dental implants are perfectly safe and effective, they are the best way to permanently restore your smile.

But, like all surgical procedures, there are some risks and complications. 

However, they are an infrequent occurrence when experienced dentists, like those here at Smile Stories in Bournemouth, carry out comprehensive consultations, plan properly and follow established surgical procedures.  

Smile Stories are ready to provide you with the dental implants in Bournemouth. Our dentists have excellent success rates and can even fix implant problems caused by other dentists. 

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