While dental implant procedures are usually successful and failure rates are low, they do happen. There's no need to be concerned if your implant fails, our North Burnaby dentists can help you recognize warning signs and determine what to do next.
How does my dental implant work?
Most conventional dental implants have three components:
- A titanium part that bonds with the bone during a process called osseointegration
- An attachment (abutment)
- A crown fixed to the attachment, which aligns with your existing teeth
Issues with any of these components can become a problem if one of them breaks or becomes loose.
The osseointegration process ensures that dental implants function properly. The body will then produce living bone cells to surround and anchor the implant to your jawbone. The healthy bone grows around the implant.
However, osseointegration does not always occur as expected. This can occasionally result in complications after implantation.
What are signs that my dental implant may be failing?
Around the implant site, pain, swelling, and infection may occur if osseointegration has not occurred or has not progressed properly, or if the bone surrounding the implant has not developed properly. This is not always the case, however.
When a patient chews or speaks, an implant may wobble or move slightly (your dentist may notice this movement first).
Dental implants should not move and should remain stable in their position. If your dentist observes movement in your implant, he or she may recommend an X-ray to assess your bone growth. This will almost certainly enable us to determine whether there has been significant bone loss around the implant's metal component.
What is the risk of my dental implant failing?
While the majority of dental implant procedures are successful, some patients are more likely to experience implant failure. Your dentist may advise you to consider another tooth replacement option if you have any of these risk factors.
- Ongoing cancer treatment
- Some medications
- Conditions such as gum disease or bruxism (can damage a healing implant)
- Diseases such as osteoporosis, which can impact bone density and strength
What should I do if I notice an issue with my dental implant?
If you notice a problem with your dental implant, make an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist will be able to extract a failed implant while you are under local anesthesia. If the bone surrounding the implant that is being removed is in good condition, no bone graft is required.
If your dentist detects bone loss, he or she may suggest a bone graft to strengthen the area before replacing the failed implant. The bone graft must heal before a new implant can be implanted. During this time, your dentist will educate you on ways to lower your risk of failures, such as postponing other dental treatments, quitting smoking, or taking other measures based on your health status and history.
How can I reduce the risk of complications with my dental implant?
Before your implant is placed, you will be asked about potential risks. Always inform your dentist if your health or medical history changes, as these can affect osseointegration and healing.
Maintaining proper oral hygiene is also critical to avoiding dental implant complications. While your new tooth adjusts, continue brushing twice daily and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash.