What are dental implants?
Dental implants are metal posts that are fixed into the jawbone to support a crown, (if you are replacing a single tooth) or to support a bridge or denture (to replace multiple missing teeth).
Having dental implants is a complex and invasive dental procedure, which should be carried out by a dentist who has further qualifications and experience in this area of expertise.
Dental implant procedure
Precise planning is crucial to the success of dental implants, and your dentist will need to be appropriately trained to carry out the procedure. If they haven’t had the appropriate training, they should refer you to an oral surgeon, a restorative or prosthodontic specialist. You should also be aware that there is no such thing in the UK as a ‘registered specialist implantologist’, and dentists who claim this title are potentially misleading their patients.
Your dentist will consider a host of different factors before deciding whether you are suitable for implant(s), including:
- Your general medical health, (including your smoking history)
- The health of your gums and other teeth
- The quality, height and width of your bone
- Whether there is sufficient space for implant(s)
Your dentist will use a variety of diagnostic tools, including x-rays, when assessing your suitability for implants. If these have not been checked by your dentist you may experience implant failure, or serious complications from dental implant surgery.
The procedure itself is usually performed under local anaesthetic; and your dentist will drill a hole into your jawbone, into which the implant is placed. As the jawbone heals, it fuses with the implant (osseointegration). You will then have to go back to have the crown, bridge or denture fitted.
Dental implant claims
Whilst the majority of dental implant procedures go smoothly, unfortunately failures can occur. Some of the complications associated with implants include:
- Failure to assess a patient’s medical history properly before performing a surgery, preventing the dentist from spotting any pre-existing conditions which could then lead to ongoing issues with the implant
- Loosening of the implant due to a failure to fuse to the bone. An infection surrounding the implant (peri-implantitis) could also cause the loosening of an implant, or the jawbone could be of insufficient quality to secure the implant
- Smoking may affect the risk of success of dental implant treatment. If you are a smoker, your dentist should have advised as to whether you are suitable for implants
- A poorly designed or poorly fitting crown, bridge or denture can cause implant failure and/or gum infection
- Penetration of the sinus cavity
- Poor care leading to nerve damage
- Failure to diagnose gum disease before fitting an implant
- Incorrect implant positioning
- Dental implants being imbedded in the jaw at the wrong angle
- Poor implant maintenance, causing them to fail prematurely
- Damage to the surrounding teeth caused by poor care
After treatment your dentist should ensure that you are not experiencing any unnecessary pain or discomfort, along with making sure that you are pleased with the results and that the dental implant is comfortable.
If you feel that your dentist has failed to provide you with a satisfactory level of service, or you have suffered due to below-par or compromised dental implant surgery, you may be able to claim compensation against your dentist for your injuries. For more information, or to discuss your claim with an expert advisor contact us.