Dental Implants Failure – Am I At Risk?
Dental implants are a popular and highly successful way to replace a missing tooth. While they have a high success rate and most patients do not experience complications following dental implant surgery, problems do occasionally occur. As with any surgical procedure, there are a variety of factors that can cause problems with dental implants. It is important to understand the symptoms and treatment of dental implant failure before getting an implant. There are several distinct types of dental implant failures. First, the implanted screw can fail to fuse to the bone.
Once the titanium screw has been inserted into the jawbone, it is left alone for several weeks so that it has time to fuse to the bone, a process known as osseointegration. If this does not happen, the screw will be loose. The artificial tooth will not have a strong anchor, and it could be pulled out of the mouth.
Failed osseointegration is usually apparent to the dentist prior to placing the artificial tooth, at which point the implant may be left for several more months to give it more time to fuse to the bone.
It is also possible for the body to reject the implant. Similar to organ transplants, it is possible that the patient’s body will recognize the dental implant as a foreign object, rejecting and physically pushing it out of the bone and gums. This may require a second surgery to remove the implant from the mouth.
The implant itself, though made of a strong titanium screw, could bend or break. This type of implant failure is uncommon, but it is a possibility. Tooth grinding may increase the risk of a broken implant. Broken implants are much less common today than they once were. Thanks to improvements in the strength of the titanium screws used for dental implants.
Infection is another potential problem leading to implant failure. Infection can set in when bacteria enters the implant site either during or following surgery. Inflammation of the gum or bone around the implant can cause implant failure. Although it is treatable in some cases, in most situations the implant will need to be removed. To avoid the risk of infection, be sure to follow your dentist’s post-surgery guidelines.
Finally, some potential failures of the implant are actually related to the artificial tooth placed atop the implant. The force of chewing can cause this artificial tooth to crack or break. In such instances, it is usually possible to replace the artificial tooth without any alteration to the underlying metal screw.
If you notice any potential problems with the implant, be sure to visit your dentist. Some of the above problems may be treatable, if caught early enough. If not, the implant may need to be removed. Regardless of the underlying cause of dental implant failure, in many instances, the implant can be replaced after giving time for the site to heal.
In such situations, the implant will be removed. Then the process will be restarted after several months of healing time.
Are Dental Implants Safe?
Dental implants are among the safest way to replace the gap created by a missing tooth. Proven to be safe and effective for replacing a missing tooth, dental implants have been widely used for more than three decades. The success rate for this procedure is more than 95 percent. However, it is important to be aware of the full procedure, as well as its potential risks, before deciding to get a dental implant.
Ensuring the safety of dental implants begins in consultation with your dentist. Good candidates for the procedure have no untreated dental issues, along with healthy gums. Patients with serious health issues, as well as those who smoke or chew tobacco, may experience a lower success rate for dental implants than other patients.
Your dentist will use x-rays and other tests to make sure that your mouth is healthy enough to receive dental implants. He or she will pay particular attention to the amount of bone in the jaw, as there must be enough to support the underlying structure of the implant. These steps are necessary to make the dental implant process as safe as possible.
During the dental implant procedure, a small hole is drilled in the jaw bone, enabling the surgeon to insert a titanium screw. The screw is left to heal for several months. It forms a bond with the natural jaw bone through a process called osseointegration.
The most common risk of dental implants is failure of this screw to fuse with the bone, in which case the screw may either be removed or left for a longer period of time to allow more time for it to bond with the bone.
Other risks concern the surgery required to place the screw in the jaw bone. During this procedure, a nerve in the lower jaw could be injured, resulting in temporary numbness in the chin and lower lip. When the missing tooth is in the upper jaw, there is a risk of drilling into the sinuses or nasal cavity. In addition, there are risks common to all surgical procedures, such as infection. However, with proper preparation including x-rays, these risks can be mitigated, making the dental implant procedure as safe as possible.
Placing any foreign object into the body comes with a risk of infection or rejection. However, dental implant materials are carefully selected to minimize this risk. The screw inserted into the jawbone is titanium, which is considered to be biocompatible. Many dentists consider dental implants to be the safer alternative to leaving a gap where a tooth has gone missing. When a tooth is missing, the remaining teeth drift towards the gap, which can cause long-term problems. As such, surgery to place a dental implant in this gap may actually be safer than leaving the gap alone.
When performed by an experienced dental implant surgeon, dental implant procedures are among the safest of all dental surgeries. This is one of the strongest methods available to replace a missing tooth, resulting in a replacement tooth that looks, feels, and works like a natural tooth.