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Signs and Causes of Dental Implant Failure

Implants offer the best way to replicate teeth’s natural look, feel, and function.

When done correctly, this procedure has exceptional success rates. But, certain factors could lead to a dental implant failure. It is not common, but it can cause severe pain and more complications.

Here’s a look at what can go wrong with your dental implants and what you can do when you experience dental implant complications.

Anatomy of a Dental Implant

Most dental implants have three main parts:

  1.  A titanium implant
  2.  An abutment
  3.  A crown

A biological process called “osseointegration” allows dental implants to work. Your body makes living bone cells grow around the metal implant’s surface and attach it to your jawbone, surrounding it with healthy bone over time.

A failed dental implant can arise after implantation or if osseointegration fails to happen. A loose or damaged implant component will also cause many problems to occur.

5 Signs of Dental Implant Failure

Here are telling signs your dental implant is failing:

1. Difficulty Chewing

A dental implant that hasn’t settled into the proper position leaves your teeth out of alignment. If this is the case, you may have difficulty chewing, speaking, or opening your mouth. This may also occur if there’s numbness caused by nerve damage after a dental implant procedure.

2. Swelling

Facial swelling is one of many dental implant failure symptoms you should watch out for. Some swelling is normal during the first 72 hours following surgery. However, it should not last beyond that time.

Contact your periodontist or oral surgeon immediately if you experience facial swelling beyond 72 hours. Facial swelling may indicate peri-implantitis, a condition where bacteria irritate and inflame the gums at the base of the implants, causing tissue damage and eventual bone deterioration.

3. Loose Implant

A dental implant has three main components— crown, abutment, and titanium implant. They may come loose, or you might feel them twisting or moving if they are not properly secured.

4. Pain or Discomfort

You will likely feel some discomfort or pain in your mouth in the first week after your dental implant surgery. Don’t worry; your dentist will provide pain management tips and prescribe medication to help ease the discomfort you feel.

However, if the pain lasts longer than ten days, this may indicate bad dental implants. Call your dentists for medical attention immediately.

5. Gum Recession or Gum Inflammation

Swelling and bleeding around the implants are also dental implant complications to watch out for. They may cause your gums to recede, exposing the implant’s abutment and causing other problems.

6 Causes of Dental Implant Problems

Dentists categorize dental implant failures into two types. Early implant failures typically result from problems with the procedure itself or problems with osseointegration. Late dental implant failure symptoms often occur due to complications or pressure on the prosthetic teeth.

Here are some possible causes of dental implant failure:

1. Allergic Reaction

In some cases, people may react to the titanium used in the abutment. Titanium ions can spread into surrounding bones and tissues during the osseointegration process.

If someone is sensitive to titanium ions, they may experience:

  • Swelling in the mouth or face
  • Itching, redness, or eczema inside the mouth or on the skin
  • Hives in the mouth or on the skin

2. Infection

Infection is another cause of a failed dental implant. Like periodontitis, bacteria from the mouth form along the abutment below the gum line, eventually irritating and damaging surrounding tissue.

3. Poor Impressions

The dental implant’s crown should fit perfectly with the teeth surrounding it. Dentists must create good impressions to create a replica of your teeth.

Your prosthetic tooth won’t fit if something goes wrong in making your teeth’s impressions, causing dental implant problems and eventual implant failure.

4. Smoking

Dental implants also fail because of smoking, which reduces blood flow to the gums and slows down healing. Multiple research studies show that people who smoke have a 20% chance of dental implant failure.

Being a smoker does not automatically make you ineligible for a tooth implant. You may have a better outcome by not smoking one week before a dental implant procedure. You should also refrain from smoking two months after dental implant placement.

5. Poor Dental Maintenance

Following a dental implant, you must maintain excellent oral hygiene to increase success rates. You cannot be a candidate for dental implants if you have a restricted range of motion or you can’t clean your teeth thoroughly.

6. Medical Conditions

A comprehensive health examination is a prerequisite for surgery; dental implants can fail because of underlying medical conditions. Your body must be in good shape to absorb the impact of the surgery and recover from it.

Several factors can increase the risk of complications or failure, such as:

  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes
  • Certain cancers

7. Inexperienced Surgeon

There is no room for mistakes in complex, multi-stage procedures like dental implant surgery. Sometimes, dental implant failures are due to the surgeon’s inexperience. They might not place an abutment properly or cause unintentional injury to the surrounding tissues.

8. Insufficient Jaw Bone

The success of a procedure depends on the availability of sufficient bone to support it. A surgeon can’t insert the implant in your jaw if there isn’t enough bone.

Osteoporosis may lead to bone loss, making bones weaker and fractures more likely. In severe cases, gum disease can lead to bone loss.

Preventive Care to Avoid a Failed Dental Implant

Sometimes, dental implant failure is unavoidable; however, you can take steps to minimize the chances of failure from happening.

Here are tips to prevent bad dental implants from occurring:

1. Schedule regular dental visits.

Your dentist will clean and disinfect your implants and the surrounding area. They will also inspect your mouth to detect any signs of problems. You should also schedule a dental visit every six months.

2. Stop smoking.

Are you a smoker? Cigarette smoking directly increases the risk of dental implant failure. You might want to stop smoking before and after receiving a dental implant.

Smoking also causes gum disease, which may lead dental implants to fail. Talk about your smoking habits with your dentist before considering dental implants.

3. Increase calcium intake.

Increase your calcium intake for stronger bones. You can take a supplement or eat calcium-rich foods such as milk, broccoli, yogurt, cheese, and oranges.

4. Ask your dentist for a mouth guard.

If you suffer from teeth grinding or bruxism, ask your dentist to fit you with a mouth guard to help prevent dental implant failure.

5. Brush and floss regularly.

Good oral hygiene is essential to prevent the loss of a dental implant. Regular brushing and flossing, visits to the dentist, and mouthwash are all critical for a successful dental implant procedure.

Poor oral hygiene can lead to dental implants failing years later. Proper oral hygiene reduces the chance of early and late implant failure.

Choose Century Dental

If you’re looking into getting dental implants, choose Century Dental.

Our dentist in South Pasadena, FL, is ready to accommodate you. Our team will discuss the benefits, risks, and causes of dental implant failure. We will ensure you’ll have a smooth recovery. Keep your mouth healthy for years to come with us.

Picture of Dr. Abdullah M. Allawnha

Dr. Abdullah M. Allawnha

Dr. Allawnha, born in New Orleans and raised in Windsor, Canada, earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Windsor. He worked as an ER nurse in Detroit, Michigan, before moving to Morgantown, West Virginia, to become a dentist. He completed his Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from West Virginia University School of Dentistry while still working as a nurse until he graduated.

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