What are the Risks of Dental Treatments?

Dental treatments can come with a range of risks, from swelling and pain to more serious complications such as alveolitis, osteomyelitis, bleeding, and osteonecrosis of the jaw. Toothaches, fractures, and loosening are all urgent dental problems that require immediate attention. X-rays have been a great help in detecting dental decay at earlier stages, but some people advise against them due to the radiation they emit. However, dentists take great care when radiographing patients, using as little exposure as possible and only when necessary.

In fact, people receive less radiation through dental x-rays than in their normal background environment. When it comes to dental implants, there is a small risk of infection at the implant site. Nerve damage can cause pain, numbness, or tingling and can affect natural teeth, gums, lips, or chin. Dental implants can fail for several reasons, including periimplantitis (inflammation of the gums around the implant), lack of osseointegration (bone not adhering to the implant), and problems resulting from bad habits such as teeth grinding.

Poor oral hygiene can also lead to periimplantitis, which is a form of gum disease related to dental implants. Bacteria can enter the cracks between teeth and implants and cause swelling, bleeding, infection, and bone loss. Certain lifestyle habits such as drinking alcohol, using drugs, and smoking can worsen periimplantitis. Bone loss on implants can be caused by bacterial infections such as periimplantitis, too much pressure on the implant, or teeth grinding. During dental treatment, numerous systemic emergency situations can occur such as hypotension or allergic reactions.

Patients who are at risk of suffering from a serious bacterial heart infection called endocarditis need antibiotics before certain dental treatments to minimize the chance of infection. Foreign bodies ingested during dental treatment can also adhere to the proximal part of the air duct. A 23-year-old man experienced a cough, shortness of breath, hoarseness and a feeling of pain when speaking after implant material broke due to dental surgery he was attending for implant treatment. The presence of blood during dental procedures should alert all dental staff to the possibility of contracting an infection. After assessing the level of risk of infection, safety procedures, advice and personal protective equipment (PPE) are recommended for the dental team in each dental office. The authors have attempted to determine the level of risk of infection related to each dental office and specify the safety procedures, advice and personal protective equipment (PPE) that the dental team will use. Nowadays it is considered that most people avoid dental treatments unless they involve pain or are urgent in nature.

The emerging situation resulting from COVID-19 has forced many dentists to reclassify dental procedures based on the risk of infectious contagion due to airborne pathogens in addition to blood pathogens.

Laurence Mason
Laurence Mason

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