The first instances of dental implants trace back to 2000 BC when ancient Chinese civilizations replaced missing teeth with carved bamboo pegs. In an era where anaesthesia was unheard of, one can only imagine how painful the procedure was.
Fast forward to over 2000 years later, and dental implants are the most viable method of replacing damaged or broken teeth. Of course, the dental implants we have today are a far cry from those of ancient China. However, that doesn’t mean they’re perfect.
Dental implant failure is still common with modern dental implants, but fortunately, you can take steps to avoid it. Keep reading to learn more about how you can keep your dental implants from failing. Let’s jump straight into it.
What Causes Dental Implant Failure?
Dental implant failure occurs when the dental implant fails to fuse with the jawbone tissue. The dental implant failure rate stands at about 5% to 10%, meaning around one in twenty dental implants fail. That said, here are the most common causes of dental implant failure.
Dentists are human beings, and like other humans, they’re prone to making mistakes and errors every once in a while. Misaligned implants are arguably the leading cause of dental implant failure. This happens when dental implants don’t align with the jaw bone, making the crown look unnatural and causing gum recession.
Dentists at Gentle Dental Care are very diligent with the dental implant process. That’s because skilled dentists know how imperative it is to get the procedure right from start to finish.
Bacterial infections like peri-implantitis cause inflammation of the tissue surrounding the tissue and damages the gum and jaw bone. This can escalate to bone loss which results in implant failure.
Nerve damage is pretty rare but can happen if the dentist fixes the implant too close to the nerves. That’s why it’s important to only let a licensed and experienced dentist handle your dental implants.
Poor Oral Health
Poor oral hygiene and bad dental habits increase your chances of gum disease and other oral problems, leading to implant failure. This is more common in people with previous dental conditions.
How to Prevent Implant Failure
Despite the many causes of dental implant failure, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from implant failure. To prevent implant failure, make sure you:
Be Consistent with Your Medication
After getting implants, your dentist will prescribe medication to accelerate the healing process and prevent infections. Because getting implants is a surgical procedure, there’s a stand of bacterial infection after the procedure. Bacterial infections may lead to inflammation of the surrounding gums, preventing the fusion of jawbone tissues with the implant.
That said, make sure you take your medication as prescribe by your dentist. Failure to do so will reduce the chances of bacterial infection and subsequent implant failure.
Smoking is not only bad for your general health but your oral health too. Smoking is especially detrimental to those recovering from oral surgery. Studies show that moderate to excessive smoking slows down the healing process, increasing the time it takes for you to recover.
To reduce the risk of implant failure, you should avoid smoking for at least two weeks before the surgery and two months after. Give yourself at least a month after completely healing before you light up.
Stay Away from Hard Foods
You might want to keep away from nuts, corn on the cob, carrots, and other hard foods after your surgery. Not only will chewing hard foods feel uncomfortable, but the pressure exerted on the implant also decelerates the healing process and even open up incisions.
After your surgery, it might be a good idea to alter your diet and switch to softer foods. Your dentists should give you dietary instructions after the procedure. However, you should avoid any solid food and stick to liquids for at least twenty-four hours after getting the implants.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Practicing proper oral hygiene reduces the chance of bacterial infections, which leads to implant failure. That’s why you need to brush and floss at least twice every day or after every meal.
Doing so gets rid of any bacteria on your teeth or gums. If your incisions and sutures are still too delicate to brush, you can use a warm water salt rinse to keep your mouth and teeth bacteria-free.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Regular dentist visits are crucial for the proper healing of your dental implants. These dentist visits allow the dentist to check your healing progress and identify any issues with your implants. They can spot early signs of infections and address the problem before it gets out of hand.
Common Signs of Dental Implant Failure
Are you not sure whether your implants are failing or about to fail? Here are a few tell-tale signs of dental implant failure:
Loose implants are a sure sign of dental implant failure. If you can feel your implants move when you chew or touch them, you need to see your dentist ASAP.
Gum recession is common with misaligned implants because there’s not enough gum or bone tissue to keep the implant firmly in place. If that’s the case, your dentist will have to realign the implant before it worsens.
Pain and Discomfort
Pain is normal after getting your implants, but if the pain is too much, then something’s up. Excessive pain and discomfort, especially while eating, is a sign of implant failure. If ordinary pain killers can’t help with the pain, your implants are failing.
Minor swelling after the procedure is nothing out of the ordinary. The swelling should go on for a couple of days then stop. If the swelling persists it means your gums are infected, and your implants are failing.
Avoid Dental Implant Failure at All Costs
The information above should help you sidestep dental implant failure for strong implants that last a lifetime. Make sure you call your dentist the moment you feel anything odd with your implants. The earlier you address the issue the better it is for your implants.
Image Credits: Jonathan Borba