As you might already know, dental implants are metal posts that are attached to the jawbone for the purpose of supporting an artificial tooth. When it is placed, a dentist will mount a replacement tooth to the implant. This is considered a safe procedure and it has a high success rate. However, there are still cases when people experience implant failure. According to recent studies, around 5 to 10 percent of dental implants fail. It can happen either after the surgery or a few months or even years later. Specialists have identified a number of factors that lead to the success of dental implants and they are as follows:
- Healthy gums: this is one of the criteria for the dental implant procedure. If you do have active gum disease you do not qualify for dental implant surgery. In simple terms, gum disease is an infection that tends to damage the jawbone and gums. If this infection is not treated it could develop around the implant and therefore, lead to complications and failure. You need to make sure to treat the gum disease before having the implant placed.
- Smoking: because of the fact that smoking restricts the blood flow to the gums, it can lead to dental implant failure. It should be also said that being a smoker does mean that you cannot qualify for the dental implant procedure, but you have to be aware that the outcome will be much better if you do not smoke one week before the procedure and at least two months after.
- Insufficient jawbone: the success of the dental implant highly depends on sufficient bone to support the implant. If you lack enough healthy bone, a dentist will not be able to place the implant into your jaw.
- Insufficient dental maintenance: some people do not know that proper dental hygiene highly affects the success of a dental implant procedure. You will not be qualified for this surgery if you have limitations that restrict you from thoroughly cleaning the teeth.
- Health conditions: people that experience an autoimmune disease or illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes have a higher failure rate of dental implants. This is normally because of the fact that these conditions cause the body to heal much slower. There are also certain types of medicine that can prevent the success of dental implants.
- Inexperienced dentist: the success of your dental implants highly depends on the qualifications of your surgeon. An experienced dentist is able to determine the number of implants needed for a specific situation. It is crucial because too few implants can lead to excessive stress on the implant and in turn, cause implant failure. Make sure you choose an experienced dentist who will go over the whole process and treatment plan with you
Complications and side effects of dental implants with the early stages
You may experience complications and side effects of dental implants during the early stages after the procedure. Complications and side effects typically appear within the first three to six months following the procedure. You need to be aware that you will experience a certain level of discomfort and pain after the procedure. This can be managed with pain medications. Dentists say that pain and swelling are the common side effects of dental implants but there are also other complications that can occur. They are listed below:
- Infection: it can develop either during or after the surgery. The chance of getting exposed to infections increases significantly if you are a smoker or you have an autoimmune disease or if you practice improper oral hygiene.
- Movements of implant: lack of stability after an immediate tooth replacement can lead to micro-movements of the implant. An artificial tooth is not generally attached to the implant until after the jawbone properly integrates with the implant. However, there are also cases when a dentist will perform an immediate tooth replacement after implantation. This approach puts additional stress on the implant and can lead to its failure.
- Lack of bone support: insufficient bone support can lead to early stages of dental implant failure. Your implant cannot fuse with the jaw if there is no adequate bone support. However, the surgeon will complete the surgery anyways.
- Allergy: it might be the case that you develop a reaction if you have an allergy to titanium alloy or metal that is contained in some dental implants. Loss of taste, swelling and tingling sensation are the possible symptoms of an allergy. You need to make sure that you mention your allergy to the surgeon in order to determine the right implants for you.
- Underestimating doctor’s instructions: the majority of people tend to underestimate the dentist’s instructions, which could lead to dental implants failure. The risk of encountering side effects and complications of dental implants is much lower if following doctor’s post-surgery instructions.
Complications and side effects of dental implants in the late stages
You may experience the immediate success of dental implants with complications developing a few years after the surgery. Thus, the list of long-term complications is depicted below:
- Tissue or nerve damage: this condition can occur if the implant is placed too close to a nerve. TIngling in the tongue, lips, face, and gums, as well as numbness, are the signs of potential damage.
- Rejection of foreign body: this happens extremely rarely but still can occur. It happens when your body rejects an implant. If you experience swelling, fever and chills at the implant site or increased pain at the implant site it might be the case that your body rejects the foreign body.
Specialists claim that in order to minimize the risk of long-term side effects of dental implants, a patient needs to practice proper hygiene and keep the mouth, implants, and gums healthy. Do not forget about brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day and regularly visit your doctor.
As can be seen from all the aforementioned, some dental implants complications cannot be prevented. However, you can still make use of several steps in order to reduce the risk of failure. These steps are as follows:
- Make sure to properly take care of your dental implants. Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day and use mouthwash. Proper oral hygiene also increases the durability of implants.
- You should visit your dentist at least every three months.
- Stop smoking or at least decrease the frequency.
- Consume more calcium in order to support strong bones. You can make use of supplements or eat calcium-rich foods such as yogurt, milk, broccoli, cheese, and oranges.
- Get information from your dentist about a mouth guard to treat bruxism or teeth grinding
- You should avoid immediate tooth replacement after an implant procedure
- You should also eliminate foods that tend to damage your teeth such as candies and chewing on ice.
As mentioned above, dental implants are a perfect way to improve your smile. However, not everyone can qualify for this procedure. You should have a thorough consultation with a specialist as he/she will be able to determine whether you are in need of dental implants or there are other options that will work better for you.