If you have invested in or are considering a dental implant for the replacement of a missing tooth you fully understand that there is a considerable investment of time and financial resources at risk. When you have a dental implant you might think that you have solved your oral health problem and can be on your way which sometimes in the case but sometimes is not. If you do have concerns about the integrity of your dental implant or wanted to know what warning signs to look out for and what you can do to prevent a complete loss of your implant you have come to the right place!
How do you know your implant is failing?
§ Pain: Although pain is associated with the healing process of a dental implant, there is such a thing as too much pain. If the pain you’re feeling radiates throughout your mouth or jaw, or is especially sharp, your dental implant may be failing. If the pain is increasing, not decreasing, you should call your dentist.
§ Gum Swelling or Discoloration: Again, this is expected after dental surgery. Your gums will swell, but they shouldn’t stay swollen, and it shouldn’t spread. Redness indicates infection, and infection can spread throughout your mouth and eventually into your blood, which is very serious. If you find that the pain or swelling in your mouth is not lessening, but in fact increasing, call your dentist immediately.
§ Trouble Chewing: An implant is supposed to be just like your tooth, so if you’re feeling pain or any other discomfort when you’re eating or chewing something, it’s a sign that something’s off with your implant. Just as pain while chewing can indicate a cavity in a natural tooth, pain while chewing can indicate that an implant is failing.
§ Loose Implants: Your implants should feel as natural in your mouth as your own teeth. In fact, you shouldn’t be able to tell the difference, if done well. If your implants feel very conspicuous in your mouth or they wiggle and move around at all, you should immediately contact your dentist.
Why is the implant failing?
Although Dental implant failure is relatively rare, typically failure is the result of multiple factors but the four most common causes are:
§ Early rejection: Some patients are very sensitive to foreign objects in their bodies like steel rods or dental implants. Additionally, some patients are allergic to certain materials, like metal. Although it is very rare for the current materials implemented in today’s implants, your body can reject an implant before the bone has a chance to heal and, if you dental implant does, you will start to suffer from the symptoms listed above.
§ Late Rejection: This is similar to early rejection but with one key difference – in late rejection, the bone has already healed from the surgery. A late rejection of an implant can be due to poor dental hygiene or post-op trauma, but the result is the same. Your teeth will increasingly feel poorly anchored into the jaw.
§ Older Implants: If you think your dental implant is failing and you had it implanted more than ten years ago, it may be worn out or having stress fractures. Dental technology moves quickly, and the materials and processes that dentists used ten years ago may not be holding up under the wear and tear of time. For a comparison today’s implants are designed to last for approximately 40 years.
§ Poor Dental Hygiene: Implants are not susceptible to decay as they are not natural teeth. However, they are still susceptible to infection, which can cause implant failure. Excellent dental hygiene including brushing, flossing, and regular check-ups is paramount for keeping your implants in tip-top shape.
Proper Hygiene is absolutely critical for the basic maintenance of your implants but never overlook having your implant regularly inspected by a periodontist or implant specialist at least once a year. A specialist that is familiar with your implant brand and specifications can ascertain the overall health of the tissue and the implant itself. It is always important to ensure that the implant crown if it is a screw retained implant is torqued at the proper specifications and that no other teeth have shifted so that they are applying pressure to the implant in a way that may cause future issues for your implant’s long term viability.
What Do I Do If My Implant Falls Out?
If you do suffer from complete implant failure and the implant falls out keep the implant and crown and return to your implant specialist immediately. The current implant will obviously not be able to be used again but often times the dentist may be able to return your implant to the manufacturer and get you a replacement implant which can save you a lot of money during your revision surgery. If the area is bleeding you can apply a tea bag in the area which will act as a natural clotting agent and stem any excessive bleeding until you can return to your dentist.
If you haven’t seen your implant specialists since having your implant placed and want to gauge your implant’s health or have concerns about your implant’s current state if you are suffering from any of the above symptoms, please contact us today via phone or online for scheduling.