While dental implants can be beneficial for replacing missing teeth, there may be cases where they don't work as intended. Here, our Surrey dentists share some information about dental implants, how they work, and what to do if your implant doesn't work as it should.
How do dental implants work?
Dental implants are made up of three different parts that work together as a cohesive unit. The different parts of an implant are:
- A titanium part that bonds with the bone during a process called osseointegration.
- The abutment is the portion that remains above the gum line.
- A crown fixed to the abutment, which aligns with your existing teeth.
If something happens to go wrong with one of these three pieces then the entire implant will need to be replaced.
The osseointegration process ensures that the dental implant serves its intended purpose. The body then produces 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.
What are the signs that your dental implant is failing?
You may experience pain or swelling that indicates your implant has not fused with the bone as intended. These are two of the most common symptoms, but there are several signs to watch for and you should reach out to your dentist if you notice anything of concern.
Another issue that you may run into is that the implant itself feels loose. Your implant should not move at all, so a loose feeling indicates that you should have an exam.
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.
What are some reasons why an implant might fail?
While most dental implant procedures are completed with success, some may fail. There can be many reasons why an implant could fail. Some of the conditions that have a higher risk of causing implant failure are:
- Ongoing cancer treatment
- Some medications
- Conditions such as gum disease or bruxism
- Diseases such as osteoporosis
If any of these factors pertain to you then you should consider other options for replacing your missing teeth.
What should you do if your implant isn't working?
As soon as you think that something may be wrong with your implant you should call your dentist. If your implant has failed then your dentist will place you under general anesthesia and extract the device.
Your dentist will perform a visual examination of the implant and surrounding teeth as well as in-depth diagnostics to properly assess the situation. 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.
Should you take special care of your dental implant?
If your dentist has determined that dental implants are the ideal treatment for your issue, they will take some time to explain the procedure, what to expect during recovery, and any potential complications. 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.