Dental implants can cause nerve damage11th June 2012
The results of a study published in the British Medical Journal show dentists are not telling patients about the dangers of nerve damage from dental implant surgery.
An analysis of 30 patients by researchers at King's College London Dental Institute found they had issues speaking, eating and kissing after the surgery.
The study also found dentists may not be taking enough care when performing implant surgery. Around 1% of implant surgeries cause nerve damage.
The operation is usually done to replace a missing tooth and involves a screw being placed in the jaw, which can then be fitted to a false tooth.
Around 10,000 lower jaw implant surgeries are carried out every year in the UK.
The research showed that in 1997 only 10% of neve damage was linked with dental implant surgeries, but this figure rose to 30% in 2007.
The team said more than half of patients experienced continuous pain following surgery and 40% suffered from numbness.
The research showed only 11 of the 30 patients recalled signing consent forms prior to their surgeries.
Prof Tara Renton, lead study author from King's College London Dental Institute, said: "It is vital that patients understand the risks of this type of surgery, and clinicians must improve their systems and procedures."
"In our study of a collection of implant patients with injuries we discovered that pre-operative consent, planning and follow-up after surgery was inadequate. Clinicians must be vigilant about potential nerve damage when carrying out these surgical procedures."
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