These days, you have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to replacing missing teeth. More and more people are beginning to recognize the benefits that dental implants have over alternative choices. For example, because they are firmly embedded into the jawbone, they have a success rate of more than 95%, even after decades. However, there is still a small chance that your implant could fail. In this blog, we explore how to identify (and prevent) dental implant failure in Tulsa.
The Anatomy of a Dental Implant
To understand how dental implants can fail, one must first understand how they work. An implant typically has three parts: a titanium post inserted into the jawbone, a metal attachment called an abutment, and the personalized restoration (crown, bridge, or denture). If any one of these sections becomes loose or broken, it could jeopardize the whole implant.
Although the implant is made of metal, it’s biocompatible. New jawbone mass grows around the implant, creating a durable, long-lasting bond. But if this process, called osseointegration, doesn’t occur as planned, the implant could fail.
Signs of Dental Implant Failure
Several different habits and health issues can cause a dental implant to fail. These include bruxism (teeth grinding), gum disease, osteoporosis, cancer treatment, smoking, and chronic health conditions like diabetes. No matter what led to your dental implant failure, it’s imperative that you seek help right away. Contact your dentist if you have any of these symptoms:
- Inflamed or receding gums
- Loosening of your implant
- Swelling around your implant
- Difficulty chewing
- Severe discomfort or pain
Your dentist will usually take x-rays of your mouth to determine the extent of the damage and the best way to address it. Sometimes it’s just the restoration that needs to be replaced. Sometimes the implant post must be removed and replaced (which is painless with local anesthesia). If your jawbone has been damaged, you might need to undergo a bone graft before getting your implant replaced.
How to Prevent Your Implants from Failing
To ensure your implants last a long time, share your medical history with your dentist. A change in your medications or general health could affect your risk of implant failure. Your dentist can recommend precautions to take to minimize this risk. These might include improved oral hygiene and more frequent dental checkups.
In general, if you have good oral and overall health, your implants should last for quite a while. Take good care of them as you would your natural teeth, and you can typically expect a lifetime of healthy smiles!
About the Author
Dr. Angie Nauman has been practicing dentistry for almost 20 years. She earned her dental doctorate from the University of Nebraska and has since become double Board-Certified in dental sleep medicine. She partners with the best specialists in the Tulsa area to place and restore dental implants. If you suspect you’re experiencing dental implant failure, please reach out to Dr. Nauman at (918) 254-8686.