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Dental Implants: The Side Effects

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Dental implants are a modern solution to the problem of tooth loss but they can have side effects. It can be useful to know of the possible risks before you decide to have surgery.

Bacteria Build Up

If you suffer from receding gums, you may be able to see the implant screws, which in addition to being unsightly, may allow bacteria to collect and cause infection. In severe cases, you may end up losing the implant. (1)

Infection and Inflammation

There may be infection and inflammation in the areas surrounding the implant. This can be caused by not keeping your teeth clean, or due to having a virus. It occurs more frequently in diabetic patients and in people who smoke. (1)


The implant may be rejected by your immune system. Dentists aren’t always sure why. People who smoke are more likely to reject their implant, so it’s a good idea if you try to quit before having the surgery. People who grind their teeth and people who have an allergy to titanium are also more likely to reject their implant. (1)

Trapped Nerves

Damage to the nerves can occur when the dentist injects local anaesthetic. Nerve compression can happen during the placement of the implant. This can result in numbness or pain. Talking, eating, drinking, kissing, even shaving may become challenging. It is important to only use a dentist who is experienced in placing implants to avoid the risk of nerve damage from poor technique. (2, 3)

Titanium Allergy

Most implants are made of the metal titanium. Some people are allergic to this metal and it may have to be removed, or they may reject it. Titanium may cause autoimmune disorders, and severe autoimmune reactions have occurred after the placement of titanium implants.

Other studies have shown that it activates free radicals. It can also cause ‘yellow fingernail syndrome’ where the fingernails turn yellow. This can be completely reversed when the implant is removed. (4)

Interactions with other Dental Products

If you use fluoride toothpaste, titanium is known to react with fluoride. The fluoride can corrode the titanium implant and if that happens it will need to be removed. (4)

Anaesthetic Risks

If you have a general anaesthetic rather than a local, the risk of death is one in every 200,000 (healthy) people. Other problems with anaesthetic include allergy, respiratory problems such as choking, heart attack and stroke. The majority of people, however, can have an anaesthetic without these problems and most people having dental implants have a local anaesthetic. (5)

As with any procedure, make sure you have done your research so you understand the differences in the types of implants and make sure to select a dentist with special expertise in placing them.


Potential Risks and Side Effects of Dental Implants, Online Surgery. Web. 21 November 2011.

Delayed Onset of Altered Sensation Following Dental Implant Placement and Mental Block Local Anesthesia: A Case Report, Implant Dentistry: December 2002 - Volume 11 - Issue 4 - pp 324-330. Abstract:

Injury of the Inferior Alveolar Nerve during Implant Placement: a Literature Review, Oral Maxillofac Res 2011 (Jan-Mar) | vol. 2 | No 1 | e1 | p.20. Full Text: http://www.ejomr.org/JOMR/archives/2011/1/e1/v2n1e1ht.pdf

Metal-Free Dental Implants: A New Approach to Implantology, The New Zealand Charter Journal, Spring 2004.

Anesthesia - Risks and Complications, WebMD. Web. 21 November 2011. http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/tc/anesthesia-risks-and-complications?page=2

Reviewed November 21, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment8 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Since having my tooth implantation, I constantly feel like I have bad breath, which started less than a week after tooth insertion. Better described as a bad/rotten taste in my mouth. Per my husband, I don't have bad breath. I also wanted to mention that I have no fever, no rash and no pain.

April 7, 2017 - 9:17am
EmpowHER Guest

Are implants made out of the same thing metal braces are made of and if so I may have discovered a new side effect. If i get a responce I will discuss more.

May 21, 2015 - 8:14pm

Thanks for sharing this article. The side effects of dental implants are quite limited but they are there. The success rate for dental implants is over 99% when it is properly diagnosed.

January 20, 2013 - 5:07pm
EmpowHER Guest

for me dental implants were not a good ide 20k wasted ....swelling inflamation and lots of pain ....i also later found out they interfere with the chakras around and above each tooth

June 25, 2012 - 1:25am

I think that this article is a nice start, but I wish that there was more information about the symptoms of these problems. I've had two implants, one of which was rejected. I preformed quite a bit of research in order to prepare for my surgery and while I read that there is a risk of rejection, none of the articles I read discussed how that rejection manifests itself.

I formed an abscess higher along my gum line and didn't notice it initially. Once I did notice it I thought it might just be due to swelling in the area - I had no idea what an abscess even was before this. Because it didn't cause me any pain, I waited until my next appointment with my dentist. Some months and several antibiotics courses later I still was not able to shake the infection and the implant had to be removed.

I think it would be nice if there was more information out there about what to watch out for in addition to what can happen. There is so much "going on" in your mouth after a serious procedure it can be a bit difficult to tell what is worrisome and what is normal.

February 26, 2012 - 9:56pm

The sources are already on the article with links to them.

Thank you.

February 15, 2012 - 9:05am

All of the side-effects are fully medically sourced and I spent a couple of days finding and reading information about dental implants and side-effects for this article so I don't think I am in any way uninformed.  I would say a person who does not look into the pros and cons before having a procedure is uninformed.

In actual fact I have to write both the pros and cons for this site as they require that.  I also wrote a positive article on the benefits of implants and would have incorporated the side-effects into that except it would have run over my word count so I split it into two articles.

I myself think implants are a good idea and far more attractive than dentures but I would still rather know all the facts before having any.

December 8, 2011 - 1:30pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Joanna Karpasea-Jones)

Everything you say may be true; but I would like it if you could identify your sources either on this blog or have them sent to my email address. I have spent 40 years as a scientist; and am well aware that the vast preponderance of material on the internet is misinformation and disinformation. Many quote articles written by the village idiot; whereas others quote articles from the CDC, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Columbia Pres. etc. My brother does "library research" on the internet and may tell me that there are 1300 articles that show that X causes Y; when actually 1299 of those articles are just quoting a single article that says X causes; so there is really only one article that purports this (and may or may not be true). Thanking you in advance.

February 15, 2012 - 8:51am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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