Getting a tooth implant procedure is not something anyone takes lightly. It is a very serious procedure that involves a very delicate part of the body that is essential to daily living. In all honesty so many things can go wrong with this type of procedure if it is not handled by an experienced professional; so it is easy to see why someone would be so anxious about undergoing such a procedure. That being said, when performed by well-trained surgeon, most tooth implant procedures are completed successfully without issue. Choosing the dentist most qualified for the job and most experienced will definitely increase the odds that guarantee success. The number one question we hear from concerned clients is, “How do you know when the implant has failed?” That is naturally a serious concern and for good reasons. Tooth implant failure can be excruciating if not treated in a timely manner and can lead to other health issues. When suspecting the failure of an implant we always recommend seeing your dental professional, but it is good to know some common reasons for failure and the signs to look for.
What Causes Implant Failure?
Many patients are equally concerned as to what causes implants to fail. Many ask so they can avoid doing anything that might increase their risk for failure. In reality there are some causes you can reduce your risk of experiencing and some you just can’t. Some causes are due to genetics or allergies and some are due to poor habits or a combination of both. Although dental implant failure is actually rare there are four major causes for dental implant failure.
Early Implant Rejection – Some people’s bodies are very sensitive to foreign objects in their body or have undiagnosed allergies that can cause the body to reject the implant before the bone completely heals. For example many patients we come across have a metal allergy which is something that is very important to know before choosing the type of implants we use. Whether it is a metal allergy or just a general rejection by the body, this is a condition that should be treated by your dentist as soon as you discover it.
Late Implant Rejection – This cause while very similar in nature to Early Rejection actually happens after the bone has healed. It is usually due to negligence such as insufficient home care, hygiene or it can be to due post-op trauma. Dental implants can also get rejected as a result of a traumatic bite due the teeth not being properly aligned. One last cause that is not often thought about but has been documented is that that smoking is a significant factor that can end up causing rejection.
Older Implant Technology Has Limitations – Many dentists end up fitting patients for implants to replace older implants with obsolete technology and materials that don’t hold up. Implant technology has advanced leaps and bounds in the last 10 years alone. Implant durability, compatibility and quality of materials as exponentially improved. If you have an older implant they may just have worn out.
Poor Dental Hygiene – Even though implants are not capable of decay since they are not a natural tooth, it is still important to be diligent with oral hygiene. It is best to brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, before bed and when you wake up. Consider investing in an ultrasonic or electric tooth brush such as a Sonicare or Oral B. These brushes mimic professional dentist tools and can be beneficial in removing particles that can get stuck and bore bacteria. Flossing is also crucial, floss at least once before bed and rinse with mouthwash. You may not have teeth that can decay, but your bone is still susceptible to infection and disease as a result of poor hygiene. Implants rely on good bone support in order to work properly, and while implants are decay proof, they are not infection proof. An infection around a dental implant can severely affect its shelf life.
If you have one of the below symptoms it is urgent to see your dental professional as soon as possible to correct the implant according to the reason for failure.
#1 Radiating Pain and Tooth Discomfort
While it is expected to have some intermittent pain during the healing process, pain can be tricky as it can also be a sign of a burgeoning failure. One way to decipher between the two is to keep in mind that pain that occurs just after the implant has been seated is normal. This is part of the healing process and will last for a few days. If your pain however, occurs long after the procedure after having no incidents; than that might surely be sign of implant failure. It is best to schedule a visit with your dentist as soon as possible. Even if it turns out to be nothing the old saying rings true; “better safe than sorry.” The bright side if it is indeed a failure, dealing with it sooner will yield a better outcome than letting it linger and cause a bigger problem.
#2 Inflammation Of The Gums
While some minor swelling is par for the course after you have had an implant procedure, if it persists and gets inflamed that is definitely cause for concern. When gums become red and inflamed it is a sure sign of infection. An infection if left untreated can spread to other parts of the mouth and in some cases the infection can spread to the blood, creating a very dangerous condition. It is best to notify your dentist at the first discovery of inflammation so it can be treated in its initial stage. Once an infection gets full blown it is much harder to treat and will cause intense pain. Your dentist will most likely prescribe a regimen of antibiotics and anti-bacterial mouthwash three times a day to fight off any further infection. Naturally, everyone situation varies but this is a sign that should not be ignored.
#3 Implants That Don’t Feel Secured
When an implant is properly seated it should feel as normal as your own teeth. In fact if it is done properly you really wouldn’t know you have an implant. One thing it should never feel like is a foreign object in your mouth. Implants should be as secure as a natural tooth and not have one bit of wiggle or looseness. This is one of the easiest signs to spot as it is easily verifiable. A loose implant can actually do more damage to your mouth and is not an issue that should be put off. It is important to remember that under no circumstances is this sign ever a normal result of the procedure. In some severe failures of this nature the implant must actually be taken out so that more damage isn’t done. This is why setting up a consultation with your dentist as soon as the problem is discovered is the key to a successful correction. If left untreated you could be looking at severe damage to your mandible and gums which can even alter the appearance of your smile and affect daily living.
#4 Difficulty Chewing Or Biting
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort while chewing food or simply biting down on substances this could be a sign that failure is imminent as well. As stated before, implants should not feel different at any time. They function, look and feel like a natural tooth so if you are experiencing pain while chewing this is just as much a sign of implant failure as if it were a tooth. Just like pain while chewing with natural teeth is a sign of a cavity, pain with an implant is also not a good sign. You should consult your dentist right away as the problem will not go away, it will only get worse.
You Can Reduce Your Risk Of Dental Implant Failure
Normally if an implant fails it is due to infection and inflammation rather than more complex culprits. Maintaining an excellent oral hygiene regimen is they number one way to prevent infections. It is also important to realize that other factors can increase your risk of infection such as diabetes, smoking addiction, or any other habit or condition that lowers your immunity to infections. It is always a good idea to have a checkup with your primary care physician prior to deciding on implants so you know of any issues that might affect your success. Second to that, the most important thing you can do is choosing the right dentist. When getting implants you want to rely on someone who is seasoned and trained, typically by the manufacturer of the implants themselves. When you choose Dr. Velasco of Uptown Cosmetic Dentistry, you are not only getting a seasoned veteran of the industry but a dentist with a plethora of knowledge that you don’t find easily. When you consider that Uptown has onsite implant labs and highly skilled technicians, you realize your chances of success skyrocket. Call us today to schedule your consultation!