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What happens if my dental implant doesn't work properly?

What happens if my dental implant doesn't work properly?

Generally, tooth replacement options have gone through rigorous testing to ensure that they can be as successful as possible, but like everything, there are risk factors and issues can occasionally arise. Here, our Surrey dentists talk about the use of dental implants, what could go wrong and what you should do if you think there may be an issue.

What are dental implants and how do they work?

There are 3 components that make up a dental implant:

  1. A titanium part that bonds with the bone during a process called osseointegration.
  2. The attachment is commonly referred to as an abutment.
  3. A crown fixed to the attachment, which aligns with your existing teeth.

It only takes the failure of one of these pieces to cause the entire implant to fail.

The osseointegration process ensures that dental implants function properly. The body will then produce living bone cells to surround and anchor the implant to your jawbone. The healthy bone grows around the implant.

However, osseointegration does not always occur as expected. This may lead to issues after implantation.  

What are the signs of complications?

Around the implant site, pain, swelling, and infection may occur if osseointegration has not occurred or has not progressed properly, or if the bone surrounding the implant has not developed properly. This is not always the case, however.

There may be wobbling of the implant as you speak or chew. 

Dental implants should not move and should remain stable in their position. If your dentist observes movement in your implant, he or she may recommend an X-ray to assess your bone growth. This will almost certainly enable us to determine whether there has been significant bone loss around the implant's metal component.

What are some things that might increase the risk factor?

While the majority of dental implant procedures are successful, some patients are more likely to experience implant failure. If you are affected by any of these risk factors then a dental implant may not be right for you and you may need to consider one of the many other tooth replacement options available:

  • Ongoing cancer treatment
  • Some medications
  • Smoking
  • Conditions such as gum disease or bruxism (can damage a healing implant) 
  • Diseases such as osteoporosis, which can impact bone density and strength 

What steps should you take if your implant isn't working properly?

If you are concerned that your dental implant may be loose or become damaged then you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will be able to extract a failed implant while you are under local anesthesia. If the bone surrounding the implant that is being removed is in good condition, no bone graft is required.

If your dental implant has failed then your dentist will likely perform an x-ray along with an evaluation. If they discover that you have experienced bone loss then they may recommend that you have a bone graft in order to restore bone density prior to having the implant replaced. The bone graft must heal before a new implant can be implanted. During this time, your dentist will educate you on ways to lower your risk of failures, such as postponing other dental treatments, quitting smoking, or taking other measures based on your health status and history.

What are some ways to prevent the failure of your dental implant?

Before your implant is placed, you will be asked about potential risks. Always inform your dentist if your health or medical history changes, as these can affect osseointegration and healing.

By being vigilant with oral hygiene you can help decrease the risk of dental implant failure. While your new tooth adjusts, continue brushing twice daily and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash.

Are you concerned that your dental implant may be having issues? Request an appointment with our dentists in Surrey today.

We're your family dentists in Surrey, BC.

Contact Guildford Heights Dental today to book a consultation for you or your family. 

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