While the majority of dental implant procedures are successful, with low failure rates, they do occur. There is no need to be concerned if your implant fails; our North Vancouver dentists can assist you in recognizing warning signs and determining what to do next.
How does my dental implant work?
Most conventional dental implants have 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 with any of these components can become a problem 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, osseointegration does not always occur as expected. This can occasionally result in complications after implantation.
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, an implant may wobble or move slightly (your dentist may notice this movement first).
Dental implants should not move and should be securely fastened in place. If your dentist notices movement in your implant, he or she may recommend that you get an X-ray to track your bone growth. This will almost certainly allow us to determine whether or not there has been significant bone loss around the implant's metal component.
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
- Conditions such as gum disease or bruxism (can damage a healing implant)
- Diseases such as osteoporosis, which can impact bone density and strength
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 bone loss, he or she may recommend a bone graft before replacing the failed implant. The bone graft must heal before a new implant can be placed. During this time, your dentist will teach you how to reduce your risk of failures, such as postponing other dental treatments, quitting smoking, or taking other measures based on your health status and 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.
Good oral hygiene is also essential for avoiding dental implant complications. While your new tooth adjusts, continue brushing twice daily and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash.