Dental implants are one of the most common tooth replacement options for patients who have lost a tooth due to injury, decay, or periodontal disease. However, there is always a chance of failure, even after the implant has been in place for several years.
Understanding Dental Implants
Over time, the bone fuses with the implant, providing a stable base for a replacement tooth to be attached. Dental implants can replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or an entire arch of teeth.
Possible Reasons for Implant Failure
- Poor Oral Hygiene: Good oral hygiene is essential for the success of dental implants. If you fail to brush and floss regularly, bacteria can build up on the implant, causing an infection. It can lead to peri-implantitis, a condition where the gum and bone around the implant become inflamed, which can cause the implant to loosen and fail.
- Gum Disease: Gum disease can also cause implant failure. If you have gum disease, the bacteria can affect the implant’s stability by causing bone loss around the implant, and it can cause the implant to loosen and fail.
- Smoking: Smoking is a significant risk factor for implant failure. Cigarette chemicals can interfere with the healing process, reducing blood flow to the area around the implant. It can prevent the bone from fusing correctly with the implant, causing the implant to loosen and fail.
- Trauma: Trauma to the mouth can also cause implant failure. If you sustain an injury to the mouth, it can damage the implant, causing it to become loose or even fall out.
- Medical Conditions: Certain conditions can also increase the risk of implant failure. Conditions that affect bone health, such as osteoporosis, can cause the implant to become loose and fail.
What to Do If Your Implant Fails
If your implant fails after five years, the first thing you should do is contact your dentist. They will examine the implant and determine the cause of the failure. In some cases, the implant may need to be removed, and the area allowed to heal before a new implant can be placed. In other cases, the implant may be salvageable, and additional treatment, such as bone grafting, may be needed to stabilize the implant.
Preventing Implant Failure
Good Oral Hygiene: Brush and floss regularly and use an antibacterial mouthwash to reduce the risk of infection.
Regular Dental Check-Ups: Regular dental check-ups can help identify any issues with your implant early on, reducing the risk of implant failure.
Quit Smoking: If you smoke, quit. It can improve oral health and reduce the risk of implant failure.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Get regular exercise.
- Manage any medical conditions to promote good bone health.
Dental implants are an effective tooth replacement option with a high success rate. However, they can fail, even after five years. By maintaining good oral hygiene, one can reduce the chances of an implant failing.