Dental implants are the most reliable and long-lasting solution to permanent smile restoration and tooth loss; however, like every medical procedure, there are risks that come with dental
implants. While very rare, implants can fail and cause painful symptoms for the patient. Over the course of 10 years, the rate of dental implant failure is less than 5 percent. In case you are unfortunate to fall into the small group of patients who have dental implant failure, know the warning signs of dental implant failure so that you can get medical treatment fast!
Why Dental Implant Failure Happens
Dental implant failure is not due to the body rejecting the implant like one might assume. Implants are non-organic materials that do not create antigen responses. Failure of a dental implant can stem from two factors—local or systemic/health. Implant failure is categorized as either early or late failure with the symptoms being different for both.
Early failure is due to the implant not integrating with the bone and forming a solid connection. Early dental implant failure will occur within the first 12-16 weeks post-surgery and is often a result of poor or incorrect surgical failures. There are cases however of implants not healing correctly even with the most precise surgery. Even the very best oral surgeons have had patients with dental implant failure.
Some reasons for early dental implant failure include:
- Poor blood circulation to the surgical area
- Bisphosphonate medications used to treat osteoporosis can increase early dental implant failure risk.
- General poor health
- Existing infections at the time of the procedure
- Implants shift during the healing process
- The surgeon attaches teeth too soon to implants
- Nerve or tissue damage during surgery
- Allergy to titanium alloy
Titanium Alloy Allergies
The MELISA, short for Memory Lymphocyte Immunostimulant Assay, test is the only known way to determine if someone has a titanium alloy allergy.
Patients should be sure to provide their dentist or surgeon with the accurate and most up to date medical information on themselves to ensure that some of these surgical complications can be avoided.
Late dental implant failure occurs after implants and teeth have been established and without complications for longer than one year. Most of the reasons that late dental implant failure occurs has to do with healthcare and oral habits that can be avoided with proper dental care.
Some reasons for late dental implant failure:
- Too few implants supporting too many teeth
- Grinding and clenching teeth
- Bad oral hygiene
- Gum disease
- Radiation to the neck or head
- Bone loss that cannot support the implant anymore
- Food impaction
- Infections and viruses
Bacterial infection is the most common cause of dental implant failure—early or late. Known as peri-implantitis, this infection can happen during implant surgery if bacteria get into the mouth or on the metal implant post before it is implanted into your gum. This infection is a form of gum disease and can also lead to bone loss. The implant typically needs to be replaced when this happens, but if caught early enough, treatment may be available.
Symptoms of Dental Implant Failure
There are three common symptoms that patients will experience if their dental implants are failing. If you are experiencing these symptoms you need to make an appointment with your implant provider immediately.
- Severe pain or discomfort at sight of the implant
- Swelling of the gums
- Implant becoming lose or shifting in the mouth
Secured implants should not move in your mouth. If you wiggle the tooth and it is loose like a baby tooth is when you lose it, your implant has failed and will probably need to be replaced.
Preventing Dental Implant Failure
Dental implant failure is rare but there are a few things that patients with implants can do to ensure the best success. Good dental hygiene is essential to making your implants last as long as possible. Patients should brush their artificial teeth just like they would natural teeth—twice a day with flossing at least once. Using mouthwash regularly is another way to prevent infection.
Even though you have dental implants and artificial teeth, you should still see your dentist at least twice a year. Your dental professional can spot signs of dental implant failure earlier than you may be able to, especially if you are not experiencing pain yet. Regular cleanings also help to prevent infections and x-rays can monitor and look for possible bone loss in the jaw.
Should I get Dental Implants?
The short answer is yes! If you are missing teeth and understand the health benefits to getting implants to replace your lost teeth, you should get implants. While implant failure is possible, it is rare, especially with proper oral hygiene. Some patients that implants may not be the best option for include patients with osteoporosis or other degenerative bone diseases, uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, smokers, and suffers from bruxism.
Schedule a Consultation with Dental Implant Place Today to Discuss Your Dental Implant Solutions!