The manufacturers of dental implants work closely with dental professionals to create tooth replacement options that are generally safe and reliable, however, unforeseen circumstances may happen. Here, our Fort St. John dentists share some of the potential issues that may occur with dental implants and what to do if yours fails.
How do dental implants work anyway?
A dental implant is made up of three main parts:
- A titanium part that bonds with the bone during a process called osseointegration.
- The attachment is commonly referred to as an abutment.
- A crown fixed to the attachment, which aligns with your existing teeth.
If a single component of it fails, the entire implant fails.
The osseointegration process ensures that dental implants function properly. The body will then produce living bone cells to surround and anchor the implant to your jawbone. The healthy bone grows around the implant.
However, osseointegration does not always occur as expected. This is one of the concerns that may lead to implant failure.
How will you know if you are having an issue with your dental implant?
Around the implant site, pain, swelling, and infection may occur if osseointegration has not occurred or has not progressed properly, or if the bone surrounding the implant has not developed properly. This is not always the case, however.
If you can feel the implant wobbling while you use your mouth then you may have an issue.
There is no reason why your dental implant should ever move after it's been inserted. If your dentist observes movement in your implant, he or she may recommend an X-ray to assess your bone growth. This will almost certainly enable us to determine whether there has been significant bone loss around the implant's metal component.
Are there any risk factors that you should be aware of?
While the majority of dental implant procedures are successful, some patients are more likely to experience implant failure. If you are affected by one or more of these risk factors then you may want to consider a different type of tooth replacement option.
- Ongoing cancer treatment
- Some medications
- Conditions such as gum disease or bruxism (can damage a healing implant)
- Diseases such as osteoporosis, which can impact bone density and strength
What should you do if your dental implant fails?
If you notice that your dental implant is no longer feeling snug then you should reach out to your dentists as soon as possible. Your dentist will be able to extract a failed implant while you are under local anesthesia. Unless there are no issues with the bone around the implant you may be in need of a bone grafting procedure.
If your dental implant has failed then your dentist will likely perform an x-ray along with an evaluation. If they discover that you have experienced bone loss then they may recommend that you have a bone graft in order to restore bone density prior to having the implant replaced. The bone graft must heal before a new implant can be implanted. During this time, your dentist will educate you on ways to lower your risk of failure, such as postponing other dental treatments, quitting smoking, or taking other measures based on your health status and history.
What can you do to help keep your implant in working order?
It is always important to know what you are getting yourself into. Speak with your dentist about the potential risks of a dental implant. Always inform your dentist if your health or medical history changes, as these can affect osseointegration and healing.
By being vigilant with oral hygiene you can help decrease the risk of dental implant failure. While your new tooth adjusts, continue brushing twice daily and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash.