One of the best things about dental implants is how likely they are to succeed. The American Association of Implant Dentistry reports that the vast majority, a whopping 98%, of implants are successful. With such a high success rate, it’s easy to brush off implant failure as something you will never have to worry about. However, since nearly 3 million people have dental implants and around 500,000 more are placed every year, that small failure rate impacts a lot of people. If you have dental implants in Oklahoma City or will be getting some in the future, read on to learn what causes a dental implant failure, symptoms to watch for, and how you can prevent it.
What Makes an Implant Fail?
Implant failure is generally split into two categories: short-term and long-term failure. Short-term implant failure happens within the first few months after the procedure and most usually occurs when the implant doesn’t heal into the bone successfully. This process, or “osseointegration,” is the foundation for a durable implant. Things that can keep the bone from healing properly include autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes, poor blood supply from smoking or a blood disease, or infections caused by gum infection or poor oral hygiene.
Long-term failure may occur years after the implant has integrated into the bone. The most common cause of long-term failure is peri-implantitis. This is a chronic infection of the gums that ultimately attacks the bone supporting the implant. Much like periodontitis, the advanced stage of gum disease, if the bone structure holding the implant in place is attacked, the implant could fall out.
Symptoms of a Failing implant
Although a failed dental implant in Oklahoma City is unlikely, it’s important to know what to look out for. These could be your first indications that your implant is failing:
- Bleeding or swelling of your gums
- Sharp pain when chewing with your dental implant
- Dull, constant pain surrounding your implant
- Movement or looseness of your implant
Your dentist in Oklahoma City will be able to confirm the health of your implant with an examination and X-ray.
How to Make an Implant Last a Lifetime
With the proper care, your dental implant can look and function just like your natural teeth for a lifetime. Follow these steps to reduce the risk of implant failure:
- Keep your mouth free of infections by brushing at least twice a day and seeing your dentist twice a year.
- Fight bone loss by taking a calcium supplement or eating calcium-rich foods.
- Quit bad habits that can damage your implant, like chewing on ice, biting your nails, and smoking.
While dental implants are extremely successful, they are not 100% fail-proof. Thankfully, if you watch out for symptoms and take proper care of it, your dental implant could last you many years to come!
About the Author
For over two decades, Dr. Joe Isaacson has been helping the Oklahoma City area keep happy, healthy smiles that last a lifetime. He is a graduate of the Oklahoma College of Dentistry and has been voted one of America’s Top Dentists in the Field of Cosmetics and Implant Dentistry by the Consumers Research Council of America. If you’d like to know more, he can be reached via his website or at (405) 943-8575.