Complications following dental implant therapy are common, finds study

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dental implants complications
Photo: Diego Vito Cervo 123RF

More than four out of 10 patients who received dental implants suffered complications within a nine-year period, according to new Swedish research. 

In Sweden, more than 30,000 patients receive implant-supported restorative therapy on an annual basis. Good long-time results have been reported, but different types of complications can occur. These complications may affect the tissues surrounding the implant, the implant itself or the implant-supported reconstruction.

Karolina Karlsson, a dentist specialising in periodontics and a PhD at the Institute of Odontology at Sahlgrenska Academy, has in her thesis evaluated the frequency, consequences and cost of such complications.

The research was part of a national project conducted as a population-based field study. It was based on randomly selected patients from the registry of the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. Initially, dental records and radiographs from 2765 adult patients were assessed. Of these, 596 individuals were clinically examined, nine years after their treatment with dental implants.

The results showed that 42 per cent of the patients suffered from at least one—mainly a technical—complication. The strongest risk factor was the extent of the implant-supported reconstruction. Peri-implantitis was the second most common complication. The complication of implant loss was the costliest. 

Replacing lost teeth with dental implants is a common treatment option in dentistry. It is important for caregivers and patients to have a good understanding of the individual risk for complications in order to develop effective preventive strategies.

“The results provide dental professionals and patients with important information, enabling them to evaluate and reduce the risk for complications associated with implant-supported restorative therapy,” Dr Karlsson said.

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