A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold replacement teeth (called pontics). They provide a strong foundation for pontics whether they are permanent or removable. Implants have a very natural tooth-like appearance and are comfortable. Dental implants, however, are not without fault and it’s possible for a part of them to become damaged or other complications to arise. Fortunately, if any of these issues occur, our office can help!
Failure to Fuse
In spite of dental implants high success rates, there are still a few problems that can cause complications and decrease the effectiveness of the procedure. For instance, after the post of a dental implant is placed in the jawbone during the first appointment, it’s possible that the jawbone with not take to the post and fail to grow around it to provide the necessary stability. If this is the case, we can either remove the implants and replace them with wider ones to increase the chances of achieving stability or we can place bone grafts in the empty spaces and allow the area to heal before making another attempt. The latter would take a few months to allow for healing.
Usually, if an implant isn’t going to integrate with the surrounding bone, this is something that can be identified by the second surgery. This allows us to remove the implant and plan to place another one right away or at a later visit. Factors such as titanium allergies, smoking, surgical trauma, infection surrounding the implant, and lack of healthy bone presence can influence if the implant and the jawbone fuse together.
Dental Implant problems don’t just occur immediately; some issues can develop much further down the road. The implant or the implant-supported restoration (the crown, bridge, or denture) can break as a result of an improperly aligned bite. If the bite is off, too much force might be placed on either the implant or the restoration and that can cause an inability for the implant to integrate with the bone. Broken restorations such as a crown, bridge, or denture can be repaired, but if an implant breaks or fails to adhere to the surrounding bone, it will need to be removed and replaced depending on the circumstances. The fracturing of screws used to hold the prosthetic of an implant in place can occur and often result in the need to retrieve the screw.
It is also possible that an infection can develop around the area of the implant, ultimately resulting in a form of periodontal disease that can cause bone loss and implant failure if it remains untreated. This can occur even years after the implant has been secured. Infections can be the result of numerous things such as the shifting of the dental cement used to secure components as crowns. The cement can get caught in the gums and result in inflammation of the gums or bone around the implant. It can sometimes be treated without the removal of the implant, but in most cases we will have to take out the implant to allow for proper treatment of the infection.
An issue called overloading can occur if you opt to partake in the immediate loading of your dental implant. This means that the crown and the abutment are placed directly on the implant after the post has been surgically inserted. While the benefits of this method are less post-surgical care, shorter treatment times, and quicker recovery, this all-in-one procedure can disrupt the process required for the post to fuse with your jawbone. In order to have a more stable implant, we encourage the two-step process of allowing the area to heal before the crown and any other parts of the implant are placed.
To avoid the development of infections, it’s essential to be diligent about your dental care even with the presence of dental implants. This means brushing twice daily, flossing, and using antiseptic mouthwashes daily. Lastly, we encourage you to always contact our office if you’re experiencing any discomfort or have any concerns about the status of your implant so that we can assess these problems before they develop into larger issues.