When it comes to dental implant failure, what are the signs, symptoms, and treatment options?
Well, the good news is, dental implant failure is extremely unlikely. Implant surgery is one of the most successful and predictable surgeries in dentistry, largely due to the fact that implant technology is so much more advanced than it was even just a few years ago (both in terms of the procedures and the implant materials), which translates to an extremely low failure rate.
But dental implant failure does happen from time to time, and it’s extremely important that you pursue proper treatment.
Dental implant surgery is a highly sophisticated process. It takes a strong skill level, and extensive experience — especially when it comes to the number of implants the doctor has placed. And when dental implants fail, it takes special training to manage these cases and determine what the best treatment options.
Not all dentists who place implants have the additional skills for managing failed implants – that’s why it’s extremely important that patients seek out a dental implant specialist.
What Causes Dental Implants to Fail?
A few different things can cause dental implants to fail.
Early implant rejection happens before the bone finishes healing, and is most often due to the body rejecting a foreign substance or reacting to an undiagnosed metal allergy.
Late implant rejection, which happens after the bone heals, can be due to things like unsatisfactory home care or post-op trauma. Dental implants can fail due to a traumatic bite if the rest of the teeth are not properly positioned. Smoking may also be risk factor that can lead to dental implant failure.
Older implants may also fail: I’ve treated many patients whose implants were completed years ago by other providers – their implants were placed long before the technology was as advanced as it is now, and their new teeth simply didn’t stand the test of time.
Poor dental hygiene is another culprit. Although implants are not susceptible to decay since they’re not a natural tooth surface, patients still need to consider the bone support factor. Improper oral hygiene can lead to infections – and an infection that occurs around a dental implant can be detrimental to its longevity.
Although dental implant failure is rare—the average success rate for implants is around 95%, and it can go as high as 98% with a very skilled and experienced dentist—I always work with my patients to minimize the risk of implant failure long before surgery.
Due to the risks associated with the body’s rejection of dental implants, I ask patients about their previous experiences with surgery, as well as allergies to medications and metals. (This is also why I’m one of a few providers who also places non-metal zirconia implants for patients with potential metal allergies). I also discuss proper aftercare with my patients, as both immediate post-op care and long-term care are essential to the success of dental implants.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Dental Implant Failure?
Some signs that your dental implant may be failing include:
- Loose or wobbly implants
- Packing food
- Pain when biting
- Difficulty chewing.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, contact a dental implant specialist right away.
Ailing implants can be fixed with therapeutic approaches, but failing implants likely need to be replaced.
If your implants are indeed failing, an implant specialist might suggest bone grafting (which can sometimes be done without removing the implant) or soft tissue grafts.
If you’ve had a dental implant in the past and you feel like it’s starting to fail, contact me today.
I’m a dental implant specialist and an expert at treating failed implants.
I can tailor a treatment plan around your dental implant needs, and get you back to a healthy mouth in no time flat.