I recently attended Straumann’s Third Annual Dental Implant Complications Symposium in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, where I enjoyed a full day of continuing education, presented by a team of world-renowned speakers. As an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who regularly utilizes Straumann dental implants on my patients, I was interested to learn about the increasing number of complications related to dental implants due to the growing number of varieties that are being used today. Most notably, failures occur in smokers, people with active periodontal disease, and those who do not take proper care before and after their surgery to maintain oral hygiene and recall.

While utilizing the highest quality implant is one of the most reliable ways to ensure success, treatment and recognition of complications early in the process are critical for long-term sustainability. At this one-day symposium, top surgeons and restorative clinicians shared commonly encountered complications in dental implant therapy, which helped me understand how to improve my patient’s experience when managing implant complications.

More often than not, it seems we are conditioned to simply throw money at a problem without making a change in our behaviors, especially if a third party pays for something we desire (i.e. insurance, Medicare, etc.). However, the reality is that an individual’s underlying health condition can greatly contribute to dental implant complications and failures. Since oral health directly affects systemic health, and vice versa, one cannot have good general health without first having optimal oral health.

Our teeth are physiologically necessary for eating healthy foods and enabling the digestion of essential nutrients. That is why it is absolutely critical to utilize the highest quality dental implant when replacing a tooth or multiple teeth that are missing due to an accident or disease. In addition, the specialist placing the implant must account for the overall health of the patient when considering the success rate and possible complications associated with the individual’s unique procedure.

Attending this symposium and speaking with other oral surgeons about their experiences with dental implant patients reminded me of a patient that left a lasting impression on all of us at North Tarrant Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. This patient was an aerospace engineer who had neglected his health for years after losing his wife and really wanted to improve his health. I worked directly with his general dentist to plan a full mouth extraction, as all of his teeth were far too damaged to save. After removing his remaining teeth, I performed a socket preservation to the sites that were planned for implants, and placed a temporary full upper and lower denture that was provided by his dentist.

After allowing for the minimum healing time of four to six months, I then placed four lower jaw implants using a digital guide. After another six months, he came in for a follow-up visit and was extremely pleased with the results. We were able to finance the procedures with our new in-office plan, “Comprehensive Finance,” which he used for both the dentist’s work and for mine.

These types of cases remind me of why I entered the field and why utilizing the highest quality implant are essential.

For more information about Dr. Fred Loe and North Tarrant Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, visit www.northtarrantoms.com.

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By Dr. Fred Loe

Dr. Fred A. Loe is a member of many dental and oral surgery organizations, including the Southwest, North Texas, and American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. He strongly believes in dental ties to medical conditions and is cognizant of how important general medical and dental health interrelate. Dr. Loe and his staff firmly believe in education and informing the patients in pre-surgical and post-surgical care.