Replacing one or more missing teeth with an implant is smart not only for your appearance, but also for your underlying dental health. While implant dentistry has a success rate of about 95 percent in most cases, certain issues may arise that cause implant failure. With proper understanding and care, you can reduce the risk of losing one of your new dental implants. Using this guide and the help of your dentist, you will understand the signs and causes of a failed implant and learn the best options for prevention.
Signs of a Failed Implant
Your dental implant should feel exactly like your real teeth. It should not be loose or cause you any pain when you bite down on the artificial tooth. If your implant is failing, you may experience the following signs:
- Loose – If the implant feels loose in your jaw, you may not be able to bite down or chew properly. The implant is a permanent fixture, so it should never feel loose.
- Swelling/Redness – Loose implants can irritate your gums, as well. Gums may appear swollen, red, and inflamed, which can be very uncomfortable.
- Pain – Pain is the most common sign of a failed implant. If you are feeling pain and discomfort after receiving your implants, it may stem from improper placement. Or, the pain may be from the implant coming loose in your jaw a few days after placement.
Causes of Implant Failure
Osseointegration is the process that fuses the artificial implant to the structure of your jaw bone. Unfortunately, if osseointegration does not occur in an efficient, effective manner, your implant will become loose.
If you lack sufficient bone mass due to an injury or recent oral surgery, the implant will not fuse properly into the jawbone. To ensure osseointegration takes place, your dentist may recommend bone graft surgery to strengthen the jaw before placing the implants.
An infection can also cause your dental implants to fail. Placing the implants is a surgical procedure that requires an incision. While small, this incision is a popular site for bacteria to build up. Without proper oral hygiene after your implant placement, you may develop an infection.
Infections can cause swelling and inflammation in and around your implant, increasing your risk of it becoming loose. In addition, the infection can cause an enormous amount of pain. Antibiotics and pain medication are usually prescribed to heal the infection before restoring the implant back to a healthy, secure state.
Lastly, your body may reject the implant in a similar manner to a patient rejecting a transplanted organ. Your body may actually reject the dental implant, loosening and pushing it out of your mouth. In these situations, an alternative option will be essential in restoring your smile without an implant.
Preventing Implant Failure
To reduce the risk of your implants failing, be sure to follow your dentist's advice before, during, and after the surgery. It is impossible to completely prevent an implant failure, but you should use precaution. Thankfully, one of the easiest ways to protect your implants is by preventing infections. Here are a few oral hygiene tips to follow after your implant surgery:
- Brush and Floss Daily – Removing food, bacteria, and plaque from your teeth and gums is still important once you receive your implants. Make sure you are brushing twice a day, for two minutes at a time, to prevent infections. Avoid brushing the incision area. Rinse with antibacterial mouthwash. Use unwaxed tape or special floss designed for implants to remove debris from between your teeth each day.
- Scheduled Routine Checkups – Many people believe dental checkups are not as important when you have implants. However, your dentist will need to check your implants every few months. During these routine appointments, a detailed cleaning of your teeth, including your implants, will be conducted.
Maintaining your new smile does not have to be overwhelming. Use this guide to help you understand and prevent a possible failure of your dental implant. If you do find yourself in need of dental implant restoration, contact a dental office like Tijeras Dental Service for more information.