As a restoration method for missing teeth, dental implants have a 98% success rate. However, like any procedure, there are some cases where dental implants fail to integrate or stay in place.
Here's what you need to know about dental implant failure.
What is osseointegration?
Your oral surgeon places the dental implant in your jaw to support the restoration of your tooth. The implant itself is a titanium rod that serves as a replacement for the root of your missing tooth.
Bone cells gradually grow around and attach themselves to the surface of the implant in a process called osseointegration, which can take up to six months. Once the implant has integrated, your dentist will attach an abutment to the top, which will then support a dental crown to restore your smile.
However, there are rare instances when the osseointegration process fails.
Why might dental implants fail to integrate?
These are some of the main reasons why dental implants fail:
- Poor quality bone. Bone is a living tissue that changes over time in response to different stimuli. Bone density tends to decline with age, which can make dental implant surgery more challenging in certain patients. For a dental implant to successfully integrate with the bone structure of your jaw, there must be enough bone present at the placement site.
- Poor quality implant. A dental implant comprises three parts: the abutment, which connects the crown and post; the post (or screw), which functions as a replacement root; and the crown or prosthetic tooth itself. If any part of an implant is incorrectly manufactured or installed, integration may not occur correctly.
- Poor surgical technique. The implant must be placed at the correct depth and aligned correctly for the bone to fuse around it.
Is there any way to prevent implant failure?
To help prevent a dental implant from failing, it's essential to practice good oral hygiene:
- Quit smoking or take other measures to protect your gums and teeth from tobacco damage.
- Brush and floss every day.
- Avoid sugary foods, which can lead to decay.
- Visit your dentist regularly.
How will I know if my implant is failing?
Watch for these signs if you think your dental implant is failing:
- The implant feels loose or is shifting.
- The implant site appears red and swollen.
- You’re experiencing pain in the area of the implant.
If you notice any of these signs, contact your oral surgeon immediately.
What can be done if an implant fails to integrate?
There are several options if your implant fails to integrate:
- Give it more time. Sometimes there's no apparent reason for an implant failure, and it may integrate on its own later. If your oral surgeon thinks this is the case, they may recommend waiting another six months before attempting the next step.
- Change the angle. Your oral surgeon will consider whether the angle at which your post was inserted was incorrect for your particular jawbone shape. If this was the problem with your first attempt, they might try inserting it at a different angle during subsequent surgery.
- Resurface. If your jawbone wasn't as dense as it needed to be for successful osseointegration, your oral surgeon might suggest using another surgical procedure—such as a bone graft—to build up more calcium and other minerals before trying again.
Dental implants, as a general rule, are an excellent way to replace missing teeth. However, there’s a rare chance that the dental implant won’t integrate fully after surgery.
For more information on complications associated with dental implants, consult with your oral surgeon. Call Rio Grande Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center at 505-821-2111today or request an appointment. We look forward to helping maintain your oral health.