Seven Ways To Avoid Dental Implant Failure

Oct 07, 2022
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Dental implants are the go-to treatment for tooth loss. While they have a high success rate, they can fail. This article discusses the causes of implant failure and how to prevent it.

Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing and damaged teeth, with a success rate of around 95 percent. However, complications and failures can occur in a small number of people.  

This article will look at the causes and signs of dental implant failure and what you can do to prevent problems.

A dental implant consists of three principal parts: the titanium post (root), an abutment that connects the implant root with the third part, the crown. Immediately after implants have been placed, osseointegration begins. This is the process where bone cells naturally fuse with the prosthetic. Most of the time, it's successful, but in a small minority, it can fail.

Dental implant failure can happen pretty soon after surgery or months or years later. Among the top causes are:

  • Cheap dental implant fixtures.
  • Trauma that can cause dental implants to break or fracture. Types of trauma include an impact to the face or teeth, an improper bite, poorly positioned dental implants and teeth grinding (bruxism).
  • Some medical conditions, such as allergies, autoimmune diseases and diabetes.
  • Excessive alcohol drinking.

How To Tell If Your Dental Implants Are Failing

While there can be several causes of dental implant failure, the signs are the same. They include:

  • You start to experience pain or discomfort around the implant sites.
  • Swollen or inflamed gums.
  • A bacterial infection.
  • Mobile implant or crown.
  • Gum recession and tissue loss.
  • Bleeding from the gums.

How To Avoid Dental Implant Failure

Choose The Right Surgeon

The first step to ensuring dental implant success is to choose the right dental professional, a specialist with advanced training beyond general dentistry studies. Nowadays, more general dentists are performing implant surgeries which is great for low-risk patients. But more complex cases really need trained oral surgeons with the skills and experience to carry out advanced procedures.

Be a Good Candidate For Dental Implants

Just because you want dental implants doesn't mean you are necessarily a good candidate for the procedure. Your dental surgeon will want to ensure you meet the following basic requirements before giving your treatment the green light:

  • You have good-quality oral health.
  • Your gums are healthy.
  • You can maintain good-quality dental health.
  • You've got good bone dentistry.
  • You don't grind your teeth (or if you do, you wear a mouth guard).
  • You don't have gum disease.
  • You're not a child. Being too young can exclude you from dental implant treatment because your jaw and facial bones are most likely still growing.

Stop Smoking

You will struggle to find any scientific or medical article that supports smoking. The literature is full of reports of the harm the habit can do, including affecting dental implant success. Smokers are at a greater risk of infection following surgery and can heal more slowly. Smoking negatively affects blood flow to bone and tissues surrounding the gums, which impairs healing. Smoking can also harm the integrity of the implant.

People who smoke are at a greater risk of dental implant failure than those who don't.

Therefore, do your best to quit or drastically reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke daily.

Eat Healthily

Diet can play a considerable part in dental implant success. While implants mimic the usage of natural teeth, avoid some foods that can put an extra strain on them - especially during osseointegration. These include crunchy apples and hard candies. You should also avoid food and drinks with high sugar content.

Prevent Peri-implantitis

Peri-implantitis is an inflammatory process that affects the gum and bone tissue around implants. This can lead to complications such as bone loss and dental implant failure. The best way to prevent inflammation is to practice good oral hygiene (see below). This is because regular brushing and flossing reduce the volume of bacteria and plaque that can accumulate along the implant base. These are the principal causes of inflammation.

Practice Regular Dental Hygiene

This is one of the most obvious and surefire ways of ensuring dental implant success - keeping your gums, teeth and dental implants healthy by following good oral hygiene practices. This means:

  • Brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time.
  • Using toothpaste or mouthwash containing fluoride.
  • Cleaning between your teeth with floss, water flossers, interdental brushes or floss picks.
  • Having regular dental check-ups.
  • Following your dentist's recommendations.

Plan Your Treatment With Your Dental Surgeon

Plan your treatment in advance with your dentist. This entails disclosing your medical history and the medications you are taking, and discussing whether you smoke or drink alcohol. If you have concerns that your implant might fail, your dentist will recommend ways to prevent it from happening. Also, be sure to follow your dentist's aftercare instructions. These might include:

  • Leaving the implant alone. Avoid touching it or anything else that could irritate the prosthetic.
  • Eating only soft foods and fluids in the first few days after surgery.
  • Reducing any swelling by placing an ice pack on the cheek closest to the implant site.
  • Taking antibiotics if they're prescribed.
  • Getting plenty of rest and avoiding physically demanding activities.

Dental Implant Success at Chesterfield Dentistry

Don't let the fear of possible problems put you off getting a new smile that could change your life. Remember, dental implants have a very high success rate and last a lifetime.

If you want to know more about the dental implant procedure, contact Chesterfield Dentistry today for a free consultation.

Photo attribution: Image by Zinkevych on Freepik