While the majority of dental implant procedures are completed successfully, sometimes things go wrong or failures occur. There is no need to be concerned if your implant fails. Here, our Langley dentist helps our patients to recognize working signs of a failed dental implant and what your next steps should be.
How does my dental implant work?
The majority of conventional dental implants are composed of three components:
- A titanium part that bonds with the bone during a process called osseointegration
- An attachment (abutment)
- A crown fixed to the attachment, which aligns with your existing teeth
Issues that arise with any of these components may become an issue if one of them breaks or becomes loose.
The osseointegration process ensures that dental implants work properly. The body will then produce living bone cells to surround and anchor the implant to your jawbone. Around the implant, healthy bone grows.
However, the integration of your dental implant into your jawbone won't always occur exactly as expected. This may result in complications after the implant is placed in your smile.
What are signs that my dental implant may be failing?
If osseointegration has not occurred or has not progressed properly, or if the bone surrounding the implant has not developed properly, pain, swelling, and infection may occur around the implant site. This, however, is not always the case.
When a patient chews or speaks, their dentist may notice the implant wobbling or moving slightly (or the patient themselves may notice this too).
Dental implants shouldn't move at all and should be very securely fastened in place. If wobbling or movement in your implant is noticed, your dentist may recommend that you have an X-ray done to track your bone growth. This will allow us to determine whether or not there has been significant bone loss around the metal components of the dental implant.
What is the risk of my dental implant failing?
While the vast majority of dental implant procedures are successful, some patients are more likely to experience implant failure. If you have any of these risk factors, your dentist may advise you to consider another option for tooth replacement.
- Ongoing cancer treatment
- Some medications
- Diseases such as osteoporosis, which can impact bone density and strength
- Conditions such as gum disease or bruxism (can damage a healing implant)
What should I do if I notice an issue with my dental implant?
If you notice a problem with your dental implant, contact your dentist right away. Your dentist will be able to extract a failed implant while you are under local anesthesia. A bone graft is not required if the bone surrounding the implant being removed is in good condition.
If your dentist notices loss of bone around an implant, they may recommend a bone graft before replacing the implant. This bone graft will need to heal before a new implant can be placed. During this time, your dentist will be help educate you about avoiding factors that may contribute to the failure of implants like postponing dental treatments, quitting smoking and taking other preventive measures based on your health history.
How can I reduce the risk of complications with my 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.
A good at-home oral hygiene routine will also help to avoid dental implant complications. While your new tooth adjusts, continue brushing twice each day and flossing once each day, while rinsing your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash.