Tooth replacements work to help protect your oral health and prevent bone loss and shifting teeth, but what happens when they don't work as they should? Here, our North Delta dentists talk about how dental implants work and what to do if your implant fails.
What is a dental implant and how does it work?
There are 3 main parts to a dental implant. They are:
- A titanium part that bonds with the bone during a process called osseointegration.
- The attachment is commonly referred to as an abutment.
- A crown fixed to the attachment, which aligns with your existing teeth.
If any one of the parts of a dental implant stops functioning properly, the entire implant will fail.
The osseointegration process ensures that dental implants function properly. The body will then produce living bone cells to surround and anchor the implant to your jawbone. This new healthy bone will grow, surrounding the dental implant.
However, osseointegration does not always occur as expected. This can be one of the unfortunate causes of dental implant failure.
How will you know if there is something wrong?
Around the implant site, pain, swelling, and infection may occur if osseointegration has not occurred or has not progressed properly, or if the bone surrounding the implant has not developed properly. While these are common symptoms they are not always present and so you should also watch for other signs.
One of the other obvious signs would be if you can physically feel the tooth/implant wobbling around.
Once an implant has been placed you should not feel movement at any point. If your dentist observes movement in your implant, he or she may recommend an X-ray to assess your bone growth. This will almost certainly enable us to determine whether there has been significant bone loss around the implant's metal component.
What are the risk factors for dental implants?
While the majority of dental implant procedures are successful, some patients are more likely to experience implant failure. If you are affected by any of the following issues or conditions then you will likely need to choose a different option for tooth replacement.
- Ongoing cancer treatment
- Some medications
- Conditions such as gum disease or bruxism
- Diseases such as osteoporosis
What steps should you take if your dental implant fails?
As soon as you think that something may be wrong with your dental implant you should reach out to your dentist. Your dentist will be able to extract a failed implant while you are under local anesthesia. Unless there are no issues with the bone around the implant you may be in need of a bone grafting procedure.
If your dental implant has failed and been removed, your dentist will likely perform a full examination and X-rays to try to determine the reason it didn't work properly. If they discover that you have experienced bone loss, they may recommend that you have a bone graft to restore bone density before replacing the implant. The bone graft must heal before a new implant can be implanted. During this time, your dentist will educate you on ways to lower your risk of failure, such as postponing other dental treatments, quitting smoking, or taking other measures based on your health status and history.
How to Properly Care For Your Dental Implant
It is important to have a full understanding of the dental implant procedures and risks prior to agreeing to the service. Speak with your dentist to learn about the dental implant process and how to care for your new tooth restoration. Always inform your dentist if your health or medical history changes, as these can affect osseointegration and healing.
By being vigilant with oral hygiene you can help decrease the risk of dental implant failure. While your new tooth adjusts, continue brushing twice daily and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash. Continue with a rigorous daily oral hygiene routine once the implant is fully healed.