Dental implants are now a popular alternative to dentures for replacing missing teeth, as evidenced by the 500,000 U.S. citizens who undergo the procedure each year. Dental implants are the only form of dental restoration that protects the natural bone.
Though the initial cost of installing dental implants is much greater than that of dentures, you’ll save money due to less frequent dental visits and decreased risk of complications or failure.
That said, dental implant failure does occur in 5%-10% of patients. That’s why you should be aware of the signs and causes of dental implant failure and ways to mitigate the risk of dental implant failure.
Signs of Dental Implant Failure
The signs that your dental implant is failing are hard to miss. If your dental implants are failing, you will notice one or more of the following:
- Swelling or inflammation around the implant site
- Mobility of the implant itself (this is different from the crown on the implant) in the gum tissue
- Intense pain at the site of or surrounding your dental implants.
- Extreme discomfort at the site of or surrounding your dental implants.
- Swollen or inflamed gums.
- Your implant is beginning to feel loose.
Causes of Dental Implant Failure
While there are only a few signs that your dental implant is failing, a wide range of factors could be responsible. However, the most common causes are infection, bone loss, and general health problems.
One common infection is called peri-implantitis. Usually brought on by poor dental hygiene practices following the procedure, it infects the area around the implant and within the gums. If caught and treated early on, you will probably fully recover. If treated early, your chances of losing the implant will decrease significantly. If you wait to have the area treated, you run a higher risk of losing the implant and having it replaced.
Infections existing before the procedure can also lead to dental implant failure.
If you have low jawbone density or suffer dental trauma after the procedure, the dental implant may resist fusing with your existing jawbone. Since we can only place dental implants in areas on the jawbone hosting adequate bone density, implant failure due to bone loss is treated using bone grafts.
Failed osseointegration is another bone-related complication. It occurs within the first six months following surgery when your jawbone fails to grow around the implant. Failed osseointegration happens if you lack bone density, smoke cigarettes, or if your dentist used a bone graft.
Patients who suffer from chronic health conditions, like autoimmune disorders, diabetes, and cancer, are at greater risk of dental implant failure. So, it is essential to be completely transparent with your dentist regarding your diseases, medications, and overall health condition before the procedure. Doing so will help your dentist select the technique suited to your individual needs. In some situations, your dentist may suggest using a denture instead.
How to Prevent Dental Implant Failure
You can take several preventative measures to mitigate the risk of dental implant failure. You should consider the pros and cons of alternatives, follow the best oral hygiene practices, and choose a highly experienced dentist for the procedure.
Consider Dental Implant Alternatives
If you have yet to lose your teeth, you should have a thorough discussion with your dentist about alternatives like gum disease treatment, root canal therapy, and dental bridges.
But, if you’re already missing one or more teeth, dentures are the main alternative to dental implants. As opposed to permanent dental implants, dentures are removable teeth replacements. Though full dentures are better options for people missing full rows of teeth, partial dentures which replace a few missing teeth are also an option. In addition, dentures are good options for people with unhealthy jawbones.
However, dentures can come loose and more frequently give rise to infections, repairs, and replacements. Dental implants never fall out, are more comfortable, and appear more natural than dentures.
While the initial price of dental implants is more significant than dentures, dental implants will be cheaper in the long run. This is because dental implant failure is far less common than denture complications, which means you’d pay for fewer dentist visits and fewer follow-up procedures.
Follow Best Oral Hygiene Practices
You can follow a few easy practices to mitigate the risk of dental implant failure. Leading up to and following the dental implant procedure, you should brush, floss, and use an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash two times per day.
You should also adjust your diet; avoid eating hard candy and other foods that are rough on your teeth. Sometimes, reducing alcohol intake can also prevent dental implant failure. Tobacco use of any kind is linked to implant failure. Anyone using those products runs an extremely high risk of implant failure.
Choose an Experienced Doctor
Using an inexpert dentist for your procedure could also lead to dental implant complications.
If you reside in Western New York, you’re already in the right place! At Concierge Dental Group, our dentists come highly trained in dental programs and focus on providing personalized treatment. Plus, we use cutting-edge digital dental technologies which ensure efficiency and accuracy.
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