18 Jul Why Dental Implants Fail: 5 Possible Reasons
So you’re finally thinking about getting your dental implant done in Singapore. However, you’ve also spent the last 24 hours reading horror stories online about dental implants gone wrong.
The success rate of dental implants hover around 98%, but the best dental implant procedures really depend on careful and thorough treatment planning.
WHAT are the things that can go wrong with dental implants?
WHY do they go wrong?
HOW can you and your dentist prevent them from happening?
I’m here to reveal all the answers to the above that you won’t find in any dental implant info leaflets!
- Infection around the dental implant (peri-implantitis)
Peri-implantitis is a condition that involves inflammation of the gum and/or bone around the dental implant, and is one of the most common complications of the procedure. Patients typically get a swelling or pus collection next to the implant, which can also taste or smell funny. This can result in bone loss and implant failure.
Infections can set in when bacteria is present during oral surgery, or any time post-surgery when proper dental hygiene is not observed. It can also be caused by incorrectly placed dental cement (used to secure crowns onto the abutments).
Diabetic patients, smokers, and those with poor oral hygiene are at greater risk of developing infection.
How to prevent
Infection sometimes does not occur until several months or years following the surgery. Good oral hygiene is key! Routine dental care should include brushing and flossing twice a day – doing so can help protect the dental implant against peri-implantitis.
- Dental implant loosening/falling out (failed osseointegration)
Osseointegration is the formation of a direct fusion between the bone and an artificial titanium implant. This process takes place over the course of several months after the implant is put in place.
An implant is deemed a failure if it is loose, falls out, or shows signs of severe bone loss around it. Failure of an implant is often caused by the failure of the jawbone to fuse with the implant properly.
Several factors can cause this to happen. This includes:
- Incorrect positioning (due to lack of skill of the dentist)
- Insufficient bone volume or density
- Overloading due to heavy grinding
- Damage to surrounding tissues
- Sudden impact/external force
- Fractured implants
How to prevent
Before an implant can integrate properly into the jawbone, there should be a healthy volume and density of bone present. For individuals who lack adequate bone height, width or length, procedures such as bone graft or sinus lift can help add space and bone mass. However, it can also significantly add to both the total treatment time and cost.
- Overloading of dental implants
Overloading refers to dental implant failure caused by undue pressure, or forces placed on the protruding crown and/or abutment. These forces can easily disrupt the osseointegration process.
Your dentist may sometimes decide to do immediate loading during a dental implant procedure. Immediate loading is a one-stage treatment method where the crown and abutment are placed on the dental implant right after the implant is surgically inserted (especially when the front teeth are involved).
This is an acceptable treatment plan in certain cases, given the biting forces are properly managed. When applied in the wrong situations however, this can lead to dental implant failure.
Patients who suffer from bruxism (heavy grinding) can cause overloading on dental implants.
How to prevent
It’s common for dentists to recommend loading the implant with a crown 3 – 6 months after the implant surgery to ensure the healing is complete. This can help ensure the dental implant is not subjected to the stress of biting and chewing.
Your dentist may also recommend wearing a mouthguard during the night to minimise excessive grinding forces on the dental implants.
- Nerve and tissue injury
Another possible but rare problem is damage to the nerves close to the dental implants.
When an implant is placed too close to the nerve, patients may experience chronic pain, numbness or tingling in the cheek, gums, tongue, lips, or chin. The nerve damage could be permanent or temporary, and the implant might need to be removed
Causes/how to prevent
In most cases, this problem can be attributed to mistakes made by an inexperienced dentist. Some pain and bleeding is to be expected for a couple of days after the surgery, but if the pain is extreme, or the bleeding lasts longer than a few days, you should contact your dentist.
- Sinus inflammation/infection
Sinus inflammation can be an annoying complication when dental implants are used to replace teeth in the upper jaw.
To develop a robust bone foundation, your dentist may perform a procedure known as sinus lift with bone graft. This procedure involves lifting the existing bone into the sinus cavity to create enough space for a bone graft.
If the implant protrudes or perforates into the sinus cavity, the area can become inflamed/and or infected.
How to prevent
In addition to the presence of the sinuses next to the nose, insufficient bone quantity and quality in the upper back jaw can make dental implant procedures in the area difficult.
A CT scan or X-ray can easily detect this problem, and corrective surgery can then be performed. Patients should inform their oral surgeon of sinus issues before the implant procedure is done.
I hope this post will help you to understand some of the possible issues with poorly performed dental implant surgeries. Having said that, dental implants are one of the best options to replace missing teeth, and can last a lifetime with proper care.