Implants are meant to help replace missing teeth and prevent further issues but what happens when it doesn't work as expected? Here, our Delta dentists share some information about dental implants and what to expect if your implant is failing.
How do dental implants work?
When you have a dental implant, there are three distinct parts. These parts work together to act as your tooth replacement. These components are:
- 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 there is an issue with a single part of the dental implant, the entire implant will need to be replaced.
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.
Sometimes, this process doesn't occur and the implant is not naturally secured in place. This is one of the possible complications that you may experience.
What are the signs that your dental implant is failing?
If osseointegration does not occur, it can cause a number of symptoms including pain and swelling. These are two of the most common symptoms, but there are a number of signs to watch for and you should reach out to your dentist if you notice anything of concern.
Along with pain and swelling, the implant and the areas surrounding it may feel loose.
Once an implant has been placed you should not feel movement at any point. If your dentist observes movement in your implant, he or she may recommend an X-ray to assess your bone growth. This will allow us to get a view of what is happening under the surface, including the ability to see any bone loss that may have occurred.
Is there anything that increases the risk of implant failure?
While the majority of dental implant procedures are successful, there are some which end up failing. There are a variety of concerns that may lead to the failure of a dental implant. If you experience any of the following factors then you should speak with your dentist about a different method of tooth replacement:
- Ongoing cancer treatment
- Some medications
- Conditions such as gum disease or bruxism
- Diseases such as osteoporosis
What should you do if your implant is failing?
If you notice any covering signs or if you have any worry that your dental implant might be failing, you should contact your dentist. 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 dentist performs an exam and determines that your implant has in fact failed, they will remove the implant. They will also perform X-rays and other diagnostics to gain insight into the underlying cause. If they discover that you have experienced bone loss, they may recommend that you have a bone graft to restore bone density before replacing the implant. Thus bone graft will need to fully heal before they can go ahead with placing a new dental implant. 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 do you care for a dental implant?
You should always make an informed decision which will include speaking with your dentist and learning about any potential risk of complications. Your dentist will discuss the dental implant process and how to care for your new tooth restoration. Always inform your dentist if your health or medical history changes, as these can affect osseointegration and healing.
Rigorous oral hygiene on a daily basis will go a long way in minimizing the risk of dental implant failure. While your new tooth adjusts, continue brushing twice daily and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash. Continue with a rigorous daily oral hygiene routine once the implant is fully healed.