Are There Times When a Dentist Has to Redo a Dental Implant?
An increasingly common solution for lost teeth, dental implant surgery is performed by oral surgeons all over the world. Although these procedures are nearly always successful, occasionally an implant fails and require medical intervention. It is important that patients understand why this happens and can recognize the associated symptoms and accept when it is time to get an implant redone.
What implants are
Dental implants are titanium anchors connected to the jawbone in order to support crowns, dentures or bridges, allowing them to work more like natural teeth. Implants act as artificial roots and through a process called osseointegration, bone cells grow around a dental implant securing it to the jaw. With time the implant is fully integrated into the jawbone.
However, these implants can run into trouble if they do not correctly integrate into the bone during the initial procedure, or years down the road if not taken care of properly. This is referred to as implant failure. It is usually defined as either an "early failure," happening immediately after insertion, or late or "long-term failure," occurring a year or more after the surgery.
Why implants fail
There are many reasons why implants fail, but usually they come down to the patient's habits and medical conditions. To maintain a healthy implant, it is wise to avoid smoking and to practice good dental hygiene such as brushing teeth twice daily, flossing, and regularly visiting a dentist for cleaning and check-ups. Cancer treatment, certain medications, chronic health conditions such as diabetes, bruxism (teeth grinding), or gum disease are all known to poorly affect the success rate of dental implants. It is imperative the dentist is aware of any health conditions before considering an implant, as it is often wise to wait for certain health conditions to clear up before undergoing surgery.
How to recognize a failing implant
Recognizing a failing implant as soon as possible is important to seek treatment and get a patient's smile back to normal. These symptoms may indicate problems:
- Trouble biting and chewing
- Recession, or decline in the gums surrounding the dental implant
- A wobbly implant that feels loose when chewing or biting
- Serious discomfort or pain
- Swelling or puffiness of the gums
- Trouble chewing
All of these symptoms are possible signs of a failing implant and may require medical attention to prevent further infection and bone loss. If recognized early, there may be options to save an at-risk implant and avoid a completely failed one.
Dental implants are an excellent long-term solution for fixing missing teeth and providing patients with a confident smile. Cultivating healthy habits and communicating with your dentist about health conditions is imperative for preventing these implants from failing, but sometimes failure may still occur. In such a case, it is important to remember that there are many treatments available. If ever in doubt about an implant, the recommended action is to contact your dentist and see if it is time for a replacement.
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