When the procedure is performed by a skilled oral surgeon, dental implants have a high rate of success. But sometimes, problems do occur. Before getting dental implants, talk to a specialist in San Diego about the potential risks, causes of implant failure, and ways of preventing these problems. With careful research and dentist-guided preparation, you can look forward to having your new smile for a lifetime.
Infections are among the most common reasons for failure of oral implants. An oral infection that occurs after a dental implant procedure is called peri-implantitis. This infection results in inflammation of the gum tissue and, if left untreated, damage to the bone mass that is supporting the implant post. As a result, the implant may fail. Occasionally, these infections may develop from bacterial contact during the surgery or from leakages of dental cement, but becoming a patient of a board-certified oral surgeon can significantly reduce this risk. One common cause of peri-implantitis is smoking, which is why oral surgeons often require patients to quit smoking before having the procedure. Smoking increases the risk of oral infections in part because it inhibits blood flow, which is necessary for proper healing. Some possible signs of peri-implantitis include:
- Bleeding gums
- Reddened gums
- Deepening gum pockets
If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with the dentist right away.
After the dentist places the implant post beneath the gum line, the area is left to heal for several months before the next procedure can be performed. During this period, the jawbone fuses to the dental implant to keep it firmly in place. This process is called osseointegration. Failed osseointegration is another possible reason for dental implant failure. It’s indicated by the loosening or falling out of the implant, or by the loss of bone mass. Osseointegration failure can be caused by a number of factors, including physical trauma to the jaw, infection, inaccurate positioning of the implant, and the use of certain medications. It might not always be possible to prevent osseointegration failure, but taking the following steps will certainly help:
- Choosing a board-certified implant surgeon
- Quitting smoking, if applicable
- Avoiding high-contact sports during the healing process
- Discussing medications before having the surgery
Most implant posts are composed of titanium alloys. Rarely, a patient may have an allergic reaction to the titanium, which can cause implant failure. Patients can be checked for titanium allergies with the MELISA test.