As a longer-lasting and much more convenient alternative to dentures and dental bridges, dental implants are undoubtedly a preferable permanent missing tooth replacement option. While implants have a success rate of over 95%, some common dental implant problems may arise at different stages of the procedure.
Dental Implant Problems That May Arise After the Surgery
Infections around the site of the dental implant can occur during the surgery or due to improper maintenance of oral hygiene during the post-operative period. This results in the inflammation of gums surrounding the implant, which can spread to the underlying bone and lead to loosening of the implant. This condition is known as peri-implantitis and if left unchecked, will result in irreversible failure of the dental implant. Signs of dental implant infection are swollen and bleeding gums, pain or a dull ache around the implant.
Instability of Dental Implant:
A successful dental implant requires the presence of good bone support around it that will allow osseointegration to take place. The stability of an implant immediately after the procedure is an important factor in determining osseointegration. Insufficient stability can lead to implant failure within the first few weeks after the procedure. Moreover, if the dental implant is placed in an area of insufficient bone or poor quality of bone, it may interfere with the osseointegration process and will likely result in failure of the implant.
Failure to Follow the Dentist’s Instructions:
Strict adherence to your dentist’s instructions with regards to post-treatment care is paramount to the success of your dental implant procedure. Maintenance of adequate oral hygiene, taking care of the surgical site and sticking to the diet prescribed by your dentist will ensure the stability of the dental implant and in turn, its longevity.
Dental Implant Problems That May Arise Months or Years Later
Peri-implantitis is a condition that can arise even years after a successful dental implant procedure. Chronic smokers, patients with diabetes and auto-immune disorders, and those who fail to maintain proper oral hygiene are at higher risk of developing infections around the implant site.
Excessive Forces on the Dental Implant:
Dentists undergo specialized training to be qualified enough for performing dental implant procedures. There are mechanical considerations to be kept in mind with regard to the number, size, and angulation of the dental implants that are to be placed in a patient’s mouth. Other factors like bone density and volume and the type of forces on teeth also affect the choice of implants. An inexperienced or under-qualified dentist may fail to keep such considerations in mind. Excessive pressure on the implants can result as a consequence of placing too few or too short dental implants in the bone. This will eventually result in bone loss around the implant, followed by dental implant failure.
Incorrect Placement or Treatment Planning of the Implant:
The dental implant procedure may turn out to be a failure if the implant has been placed at the wrong angulation or location, or the entire procedure generally suffers from a lack of planning. Such problems arise at the hands of an unskilled or inexperienced dentist.
Treating Dental Implant Problems
- It is imperative that you choose a skilled and qualified dentist for your dental implant procedure. Moreover, it is the job of the dentist to carefully list out the instructions and hygiene maintenance that is to be followed by the patient after the treatment.
- The patient’s role in ensuring the success of the dental implant is just as important as the dentist’s. Following the dentist’s instructions about post-operative care and properly maintaining good oral hygiene all contribute to the longevity of the implant.
- Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups. Early detection of any potential dental problems can help prevent long-term complications that can result in the failure of the implant.
- In case of an implant failure, it may be possible to save the case with early professional intervention. However, if the implant does require removal, the site is usually left to heal and recover for a while; after a requisite amount of time, an implant procedure can be attempted again in the same spot.