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Common Causes of Dental Implant Failure

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Dental implants have become the gold standard for tooth replacement in recent decades.  Although not every patient is a good candidate for dental implants, many find this option preferable to removable dentures or even permanent bridgework.

Dental implants include a titanium post that bonds with the bone in your jaw, topped by a full crown designed to blend seamlessly with remaining teeth and function just as your natural teeth do.  They complete your smile so you can eat, drink, brush, floss, and laugh with confidence, and because they extend into your jaw, they can help to prevent bone loss and movement of adjacent teeth.

While dental implants work great for many patients and last for years, every patient is different and there are cases in which dental implants could fail.  Why does this happen and is there anything patients can do to ensure the greatest chances for successful implantation?  Here are just a few common causes of dental implant failure patients should be aware of.

Osseointegration Issues

Dental implant success begins when the titanium screw that acts as the base of your new tooth bonds with the bone in your jaw.  This is essential if you want strong support for your crown so that you can chew without the worry that your implant will shift, wiggle, or come loose.

Osseointegration issues occur when the bone doesn’t heal properly and won’t bond with the titanium implant.  This could cause the implant to move around when you speak, chew, or brush, and that’s just in the short-term.  If left untreated, such issues could result in pain, bleeding, infection, and even further bone loss.

That said, osseointegration problems need not be a total loss.  When caught early, the implant can be removed, the site can be restored with a bone graft, and in time, a new implant could be installed, perhaps with greater success.

Insufficient Bone Density

This is one of the biggest potential risks when it comes to dental implants.  In order for the jaw bone to support an implant, it must feature sufficient density.  This is a problem for some patients due to age or heredity, but it could also be related to the reasons for tooth loss, such as an abscess or trauma that could compromise the integrity of the bone.

In most cases, a dental professional will be able to tell whether or not the bone has sufficient density to support an implant, and often, weak bone can be enhanced through bone grafting procedures.  This process could take several months, and it may not work for every patient, but if you’re set on replacing a lost tooth or teeth with implants, you want to ensure the best possible chances for success with optimal bone density.

Peri-Implantitis

Some patients may experience issues after their implant is in place, such as inflammation around the implant site.  This is a situation known as peri-implantitis and is somewhat similar to gingivitis, except that it is often associated with bone loss around the implant, leading to potential risks like infection and failure of the implant.

The good news is that this condition can be treated with an enhanced oral hygiene regimen, antimicrobial therapy, and debridement (removal of damaged tissues).  If these don’t show significant improvement in time, surgical options can also be explored.

Poor Oral or Overall Health

Health issues can contribute to dental implant failure, especially when they include compromised immunity and/or the use of certain medications that slow the body’s natural healing function.  Poor oral hygiene that leads to oral health concerns can also be an issue following implantation.  Risk of failure is especially high for patients that develop gum disease.

Bruxism

Dental implants are designed to stand up to the same stresses as your natural teeth, but under excessive pressure, there’s a chance they could fail.  Patients that suffer from bruxism, or clenching and grinding of teeth, may put undue stress on implants that ultimately leads to loosening and failure.

Tobacco Use

Bad habits can have an impact not only on overall health, but also on oral health, and the use of tobacco products is among the most dangerous when it comes to maintaining health and ensuring the success of dental implants.  If you want to avoid failure, following a strict regimen for oral hygiene is best, and this includes avoiding tobacco products.

If you’re looking for experienced professionals to help ensure success with your dental implants, contact the qualified team at Rancho San Diego & North County Dental Group today at 619-670-5571 (El Cajon), 858-748-4802 (Poway), or online to schedule an appointment and learn more.