Replacing missing teeth using implants can help prevent serious issues, but what happens when it doesn't work? Here, our Surrey dentists talk about the purpose of dental implants and what to expect if your implant doesn't function properly.
What are dental implants and how do they work?
A dental implant is a single device that is made up of three separate parts. The different parts 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.
Unfortunately, when a single part of the implant malfunctions then the entire implant will no longer be functional.
The osseointegration process ensures that the dental implant serves its intended purpose. The body will then produce living bone cells to surround and anchor the implant to your jawbone.
Sometimes, this process doesn't occur and the implant is not naturally secured in place. This is one of the many different issues that can affect the success of a dental implant.
How will you know if your implant isn't working?
If the implant doesn't properly bond with the bone then you are likely to experience pain and/or swelling. These are two of the most common symptoms, but there are a number of signs to watch for and you should reach out to your dentist if you notice anything of concern.
Another common symptom that you may note if the implant is failing is a loose feeling.
Once a dental implant is placed and has healed, there should not be any movement that occurs. If your dentist observes movement in your implant, he or she may recommend an X-ray to assess your bone growth. This will allow us to get a view of what is happening under the surface, including the ability to see any bone loss that may have occurred.
Are there any factors that contribute to implant failure?
While most dental implant procedures are completed with success, some may fail. There are a number of factors that can contribute to the implant not bonding properly. If you experience any of the following factors then you should speak with your dentist about a different method of 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?
The first thing you should do if you notice anything unusual with your implant is to contact your dentist. If your implant has failed then your dentist will place you under general anesthesia and extract the device.
Your dentist will perform diagnostics such as an exam and X-rays to try and determine the cause behind the failure. 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. You will need to wait for the bone graft to fully heal before the dentist will go ahead with placing a new dental implant. 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.
Do dental implants require special care?
Before having a dental implant placed, your dentist will share any potential risks or complications with you. Your dentist will discuss 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 keeping up with routine oral hygiene and professional dental care, you can help to reduce the risk of potential complications. 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.