Dental implants are the gold standard when it comes to tooth replacement options. Not only do implants look and perform like your natural teeth, but they also require similar care so there are no additional tasks beyond your normal dental hygiene routine. Unfortunately, there are times when dental implants may fail. This typically occurs during the recovery period after they are placed. There are ways to decrease the chances of failure, though.
Infection is a common cause of implant failure. Dental implant procedures are surgical, which means there will be cuts into both the soft tissue of the gums and into dense bone tissue. It is vital that these tissues are allowed to heal without becoming infected. Hygiene issues and failure to follow your dentist's directions are the most common reasons for infection failures. Properly brushing your teeth and following post-operative hygiene instructions are vital. If you are prescribed antibiotics, make sure you take them all as directed.
If you notice signs of infection -- swelling, pain, and redness -- then contact your dentist immediately. They can take steps to clean the implants and treat the infection, which in many cases can prevent implant failure if caught and treated early.
Poor or slow healing can lead to failure, as well. Many factors can affect how well you heal, and your dentist will go over the ones that apply to your specific situation. Common causes of poor healing are underlying medical issues, medications, and nicotine use. Diabetes, for example, is a condition that is well documented to cause delayed healing and immune responses, so it is important to work with both your doctor and dentist to keep the condition under control as you heal from implant surgery.
Certain medications and smoking also slow healing. There may be little you can do about your medication needs, but you can control your nicotine use. Nicotine, and smoking in particular, leads to poor blood flow which impacts healing time. Quit or reduce nicotine usage prior to and following your implant surgery to increase the chances of success.
Osseointegration is when the implants bond with the bone, thus becoming firmly fixed in place similar to a natural tooth. Bone density has a major impact on how well the implants integrate. If you have poor bone density, your dentist may recommend a bone graft before placing the implant, which can increase the chances of success.
Trauma can also affect integration. Avoid trauma following the surgery until the implants have completely healed. This means no contact sports or other activities that increase the chances of mouth trauma.
For more help, contact a dentist in your area.