Why do dental implants fail and how to fix them?

Why do dental implants fail and how to fix them?

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The process of getting a dental implant is predictable and usually successful. But there is a chance something could go wrong. Here’s how you can recognise when something is going wrong and what you need to do about it.

The chance of dental implant failure is low over the long term, it’s about 3-10% in most instances and over numerous years. So, the chances are high that you will never have any issues with your implant. But if you do, you need to know how to recognise the problem, and what you need to do to resolve it.

How to know when something is wrong with your dental implant

There are two main signs something is wrong. The first one is infection. The unique thing about implants that make them so strong, is the osseointegration. This is the process where the implant becomes integrated with the bone. This is where issues can arise if infections occur, as it can stop the integration or damage the bone. If there is an infection, there may be pain, swelling and it will be hot.

The second sign is if the implant starts moving around. A dental implant is made up of three parts. A titanium implant, the crown ‘tooth’, and the abutment that joins them together. All three parts can become loose or break. At first, it may be unnoticeable or a micro-movement, but over time the movement becomes more pronounced. It will wiggle when talking or chewing. This may be due to a broken abutment or crown, as these can wear down and fracture. Or, it can be due to the implant becoming loose.

There is also the small chance that the crown may not be perfectly the right size. It may be causing food to get stuck between the natural tooth and the implant. If this is the case, the crown can easily be replaced.

What causes a dental implant to not work?

There are a number of contributors to a failed implant.

Treatments for failing dental implants

If you sense either movement in your tooth, or an infection, go to your dentist immediately. An infection, if caught early, may simply be treated with antibiotics.

A failed implant is easily removed under local anaesthesia. The dentist will assess if the implant can be replaced, although this may need a bone graft. If this does happen, there will need to be a range of extra precautions taken to help ensure success.

This decision will be made by your dentist. If you have not complied with after-care procedures, then the risk of re-inserting an implant may be too great.

How to avoid complications

Your dentist should discuss a variety of techniques you can undertake to increase the likelihood of success.

Prevention is the best option

By the time your implant fails, it’s already been a long process to get there. It’s far better to ensure that failure doesn’t happen.

Have a great dentist who knows what they are doing. They should perform a number of imaging and physical checks to ensure the mouth is healthy and that there will be no problems with the health of the jaw.

Then, be meticulous in your oral health. Follow instructions given by the dentist and do exactly as told. Look after your physical health, eat a nutritious diet, avoid alcohol and stop smoking. If this happens, the likelihood of failure is very small. You’ve invested a lot of time and money into this process, don’t jeopardise it by taking shortcuts or not following instructions.