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Relationship Between Dental Implants and Avascular Necrosis

Dental implants in West Palm Beach are a popular and efficient way to replace missing teeth. However, like any surgical treatment, there are risks involved. One of the potential complications of dental implant surgery is avascular necrosis (AVN).  

AVN is a condition where bone tissue dies because of the lack of blood supply. This can occur in any bone in the body, including the jawbone where dental implants are placed. AVN in the jawbone can cause implant failure, which can be an expensive and frustrating problem to correct.  

Avascular Necrosis and Dental Implants: What You Need to Know  

Causes   

The cause of AVN in dental implants is not well-founded, but it is believed to be related to several factors. One of the main causes is trauma to the jawbone during surgery. This trauma can disrupt blood flow to the bone, leading to AVN.  

Other potential causes include:  

  • Radiation therapy: Patients who have received radiation therapy to the head and neck area are at a higher risk for this condition because of radiation on bone tissue.  
  • Smoking: Smoking can reduce blood flow to the bone, making it more susceptible to AVN.  
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as bisphosphonates, can increase the risk of avascular necrosis in the jawbone.  

Symptoms  

The symptoms of avascular necrosis (AVN) in dental implants may not be noticeable right away and may develop over time. However, when they do occur, they can be quite uncomfortable and affect the patient’s ability to chew and speak.  

The symptoms may include:  

  1. Pain: This is one of the primary symptoms of AVN in dental implants. Patients may experience mild to severe pain around the implant site, which may worsen with time. The pain may be intermittent or constant, and it may be aggravated by biting or chewing.  
  1. Swelling: It may occur around the implant site, especially in the gums. The gums may appear inflamed and tender to the touch.  
  1. Difficulty chewing: Avascular necrosis can cause difficulty in chewing, especially if the implant is in the jawbone. The jaw may become weaker, making it harder to chew tough or hard foods.  
  1. Implant failure: This condition can cause implant failure, which means that the implant may become loose, shift or fall out altogether. This may require removal of the implant and replacement with a new one.  

Prevention  

Preventing AVN in dental implants requires careful planning and execution of implant surgery. Patients who are at a higher risk for this condition, such as those who have received radiation therapy or are smokers, should inform their dentist before undergoing surgery. This can help the dentist take appropriate measures to prevent this disorder.  

Other ways to prevent AVN in dental implants include:  

  • Proper implant placement: Implants should be placed in a way that minimizes trauma to the bone and maximizes blood flow.  
  • Monitoring medications: Patients who are taking medications that increase the risk of AVN should be closely monitored by their dentist.  
  • Regular check-ups: Patients who have received dental implants should have regular check-ups to ensure that the implant is functioning properly and that there are no signs of AVN.  

Treatment  

Treatment may depend on the severity of the condition. In other cases, the implant may need to be removed and the jawbone allowed to heal before a new implant can be placed. Other treatments may include medication or surgery to improve blood flow to the affected area.  

Schedule an Appointment to Get Your Dental Implants in West Palm Beach   

AVN is a potential complication of dental implant surgery. However, with careful planning and execution of the surgery, patients can minimize and even prevent their risk of developing this condition. Reach us if you have any questions. 

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