While tooth replacement options are generally successful and there may be instances where they don't work as intended. Here, our Surrey dentists discuss how dental implants are used, some reasons why they may not work properly and what to do if you think there is an issue.
How do dental implants work?
When it comes to dental implants there are 3 main components. These are:
- A titanium part that bonds with the bone during a process called osseointegration.
- An attachment which is commonly referred to as an abutment.
- A crown fixed to the attachment, which aligns with your existing teeth.
If one of these components becomes loose, cracks or breaks then it can cause the entirety of the dental implant to fail.
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 can occasionally result in complications after implantation.
What are some signs that your dental implant may be failing?
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.
When a patient chews or speaks, an implant may wobble or move slightly (your dentist may notice this movement first).
Dental implants should not move and should remain stable in their position. 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.
Things That May Increase the Risk of Dental Implant Failure
While the majority of dental implant procedures are successful, some patients are more likely to experience implant failure. Your dentist may advise you to consider another tooth replacement option if you have any of these risk factors.
- 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 implant doesn't seem to be working properly?
If you are concerned that your dental implant may be loose or become damaged then you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will be able to extract a failed implant while you are under local anesthesia. If the bone surrounding the implant that is being removed is in good condition, no bone graft is required.
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.
How to Prevent the Failure of Your Dental Implant
Before your implant is placed, you will be asked about potential risks. Always inform your dentist if your health or medical history changes, as these can affect osseointegration and healing.
Maintaining proper oral hygiene is also critical to avoiding dental implant complications. While your new tooth adjusts, continue brushing twice daily and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash.