Although dental implants have a high success rate, that doesn't mean they're completely problem-free. A few complications can develop during the implant process, but you can significantly reduce your risk of failure by following these tips.
Peri-implantitis is a bacterial infection that attacks the implant site, causing pain and inflammation in the gums. If left untreated, the disease can lead to gum recession, implant failure, and further tooth loss.
There are several reasons why peri-implantitis develops in a patient, but the main three causes are poor oral care, unhealthy personal habits (e.g. nail biting), and a compromised immune system. Thus, reducing your risk of getting this disease requires you to take action in at least the first two areas.
For instance, having good oral hygiene is always important, but it's absolutely critical to stay on top of your mouth-cleaning regimen after your implants have been installed. Doing so will minimize bacteria reproduction, which can prevent infection, so be sure to follow the aftercare plan the dentist prescribes to you.
Stopping bad habits that negatively impact your teeth and gums can also go a long way towards preventing peri-implantitis. This includes ceasing:
- Smoking and vaping
- Using your teeth as tools
- Biting your nails
- Chewing on ice and hard candy (can cause micro-cracks for bacteria to enter)
- Brushing your teeth too hard (can wear down enamel and irritate gums)
- Consuming too many acidic drinks
There may be other habits you're engaging in that are harming your teeth. It's best to discuss any concerning behaviors with your dentist. They can help you develop a plan to overcome or, at least, minimize their impact on your oral health.
It's normal for a dental implant to feel a bit loose when it's first inserted into the jaw. The body has to integrate the implant into the bone, which can take four to six weeks.
Until then, there may be a tiny bit of space between the titanium post and the bone, so the implant might move around a little in the beginning when you touch it. A tooth that still continues to feel loose after a month, though, may indicate the osseointegration process isn't going well.
A number of factors can negatively impact the rate at which the implant integrates into the bone. One common cause is medication. Certain prescription drugs—such as glucocorticoids and phenobarbital—can actually cause bone loss, for instance. Some medical conditions, such as diabetes and hyperthyroidism, can also inhibit bone formation, either slowing the process or stopping it completely. Using the implant tooth to chew food too early in the healing process can also cause it to become dislodged.
It's possible to continue and successfully complete the implant procedure, but you'll have to make some lifestyle adjustments to ensure the implant heals correctly. You may need to temporarily switch medications or stop altogether. In other cases, you might have to add foods and nutritional supplements to your diet to boost your bone strength and development.
Let your dentist know about any medications you're taking or health conditions you have that may impact the dental implant process. The dentist will make the proper modifications to your treatment programs to ensure your new teeth heal right.
Whenever something is put in the body that didn't come with the original model, there's a chance the body will reject it. Even though a dental implant is made of porcelain and metal, there is still the possibility the implant will fail to take because your body refuses to integrate it into the bone regardless of what you do to help the healing process.
Almost always the rejection is the result of an allergic reaction to the titanium post. Because of this, unfortunately, the implant will have to be removed. The good news is that there are alternative materials that can be used in place of the titanium, so you may still be able to get the implant.
You can avoid this problem from the outset by getting tested for a titanium allergy. If you're allergic to other metals, such as nickel or silver, it's a good idea to get tested before having the implant done to ensure it's safe, which will save time and money.
For more information about dental implants or to schedule a consultation, contact a local cosmetic dentist.