Infection, nerve damage, injury to the structures surrounding the implant and sinus problems are all possible complications of a dental implant, according to the Mayo Clinic. The American Academy of Periodontology defines a dental implant as an artificial tooth root that holds a bridge or replacement tooth.
Experts from the American Academy of Osseointegration say dental implant surgery is typically performed in three stages. During the first stage, the dentist buries the implant under the patient's gum tissue and gives it time to heal before moving to the second step in the process. If the implant integrates correctly, the dentist places a post in the implant. The third stage is when the dentist connects replacement teeth to the implants.
Some dentists use a one-stage surgery to place implants, according to the American Academy of Osseointegration. This involves placing a one-piece implant with a metal collar. The collar remains above the gum line while the bone integrates with the implant. Once the patient has enough time to heal, the dentist connects a post to the implant and replaces the missing tooth with a crown.
Some patients choose to have intravenous anesthesia and a local anesthetic during their implant procedures. It may be necessary to use general anesthesia if there is an infection in the mouth, according to the Pennsylvania Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. MedlinePlus lists stroke, heart attack, vocal cord damage, lung infection and mental confusion among the complications associated with general anesthesia.