Dental implants are the most popular solution for missing tooth/teeth. Although they’re expensive, they are an extremely reliable and durable option for tooth/teeth replacement. While dental implants have a 95% success rate, it has its share of implant problems. These issues can arise almost immediately after placement of the implant, while some occur after a while.

Early Dental Implant Problems

The biggest issue with implants is implant failure. This is usually witnessed within three to four months of dental implant surgery when Osseo-integration is taking place. Some of the causes of early implant failure are as follows –

Allergic Reactions: Most implants are made of titanium, with small hints of nickel. It may not always cause allergic reactions, but patients who are sensitive to nickel might have some form of reaction. This can present in the form of tingling or burning sensations. These allergic developments can cause the failure of the implant.

Hampered Blood Supply: For proper and timely wound healing, there should be proper and adequate blood supply to the region. This rings true for dental surgeries too. If the blood supply is poor at the site of the dental implant, it can lead to implant failure due to improper healing of the area.

Autoimmune Disorders: Autoimmune disorders occur when the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues within itself. This medical condition can cause implant rejection. Patients who have autoimmune diseases experience more dental implant failure than those who don’t have any. Some examples of such diseases are Type 1 Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Celiac Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, etc.

Poor Health: Poor general and oral health can lead to implant problems and subsequent failure. If a patient fails to follow proper oral hygiene habits, it can hamper the success of the implant. Additionally, diminished general health leads to lower integration of the implant with the body.

Infections: One of the major causes of implant failure is infections. A common infection that occurs after implant placement is called “peri-implantitis”. This can lead to both early and late implant failure. It can occur any time – either at the time of surgery or months after. If this is the cause of failure, the area has to be replaced with another implant.

Medications: Your medical history is very important when it comes to dental implants. Your dentist will discuss your history and any medications you’re on before they decide to proceed with the implant placement. For instance, drugs used to treat osteoporosis, like Bisphosphonates, can impede the success of dental implants. Various other medications can interfere with implant success.

Implant Overloading: The procedure of placing dental implants occurs in two phases. The first involves drilling space into the jawbone and placing the implant. The second phase involves placing the abutment and crown/bridge on top of the implant. Usually, sufficient time is given between both phases. In certain cases, both phases are done in a single seating – this is called “one-day implant procedure” or “immediate loading”. This reduces the aftercare involved post-placement, the procedure time, and encourages quicker recovery. However, it can result in implant overloading, due to sudden increased pressure on the crown, abutment, and jaw. The result in this case is implant failure.

Nerve/Tissue Damage: Some nerves or tissues can get damaged during implant surgery. These damages cause early implant failure.

Rejection of Foreign Body: Although pretty rare, it is possible. Your body might sense the implant as a foreign object and attack the area, rejecting it and the integration. In such a case, implants cannot be successful.

Late Dental Implant Problems

Late/Delayed dental implant issues occur a year later or afterward. Some causes of this issue are –

Lack of Jaw Bone: To support the dental implant and Osseo-integration, you need a healthy amount and quality of jaw bone. Lack of bone in the jaw due to medical conditions like osteoporosis can cause insufficient support to the implant that has been placed. This leads to the failure of the dental implant.

Poor Implant Procedure/Under-engineered Implant: The quality of the implant, as well as the dentist’s proficiency play key roles in the success of dental implants. If the implant quality isn’t up to standard, or if an inexperienced dentist handles the surgical procedure, it can lead to late issues with the implant. Improper placement, poor fit, or diminished strength to abutment and prosthetics cause implant failure eventually.

Bruxism (teeth grinding)/Teeth Clenching: If you tend to grind your teeth at night, or unconsciously clench, you’re probably going to experience failure of your dental implants. This is because these habits can lead to misaligned teeth, stress, and overexertion, rendering the integration very difficult. And if there is improper Osseo-integration between implant and jawbone, dental implants aren’t successful.

Smoking: Studies show that smoking increases implant failure by 6%-20%. Studies also show that patients who smoke have higher chances of unsuccessful implants compared to patients who don’t. If you are a smoker, you’re likely not going to have a successful implant procedure.

Can Dental Implants Cause Gum Disease?

The propensity of dental implants to cause gum disease only occurs when the patient concerned does not follow proper oral hygiene. Improper brushing, lack of flossing, and failure to get your teeth professionally cleaned can cause bacteria to entrap between the implant and the gums. This leads to the proliferation of the bacteria, causing infection, inflammation, and possibly bleeding – all of which are signs of gum disease.

Extra care is always advised if you are fitted with an implant. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing properly between teeth, and using a mouthwash are just some of the basic practices necessary to maintain proper oral health. Additionally, visiting your dentist for regular check-ups and professional cleaning is also important to prevent any form of gum disease. Avoiding habits like smoking and chewing tobacco also go a long way in the success and longevity of implants.

If you have dental implants placed, and feel like you’re on the verge of a failure, please visit us at Le Sueur Family Dental today.