There are many different options to help people replace their lost teeth. Some people choose removable dentures, while others choose dental bridges — both less expensive options when compared to dental implants. Many, however, choose to invest in dental implants because they can provide a dependable solution that can last a lifetime.
Implants serve as a more stable tooth replacement and stimulate the jawbone to keep it from deteriorating. They are the closest things to natural teeth, and with the price, people also expect them to last longer than dentures and bridges. Research shows implants have 10-year success rates around 95 percent, but in a small minority of cases, the implant becomes loose and fails. What could cause this?
Dental Implants Are Rarely Rejected
The causes for failure vary depending on the case, but the implants are rarely, if ever, rejected. When foreign objects are put into the body, sometimes the body rejects them and tries to force them out — as is the case with splinters, for example. There is a difference between rejection and failure, though.
Dental implants are formed from titanium, a highly biocompatible material that doesn’t get rejected and promotes full integration with the bone, also known as osseointegration. The implant acts like the root of a natural tooth and will help the replacement tooth function just as well as the original. Any problems will be the result of circumstances other than a bodily reaction to the implant itself.
Causes of Loose Dental Implants
Despite titanium’s affinity for fusing with the jawbone, complications can still arise during the process that can lead to implant failure. Once the implants are placed, there is a healing period of about two to four months (it varies with each patient). This healing period is critical for implant success. If bacteria enter the surgical site and infect it, soft tissue can form between the bone and implant, causing instability and increases the chance for failure.
Smoking can also contribute to implant failure. Cigarette smoke has been known to cause problems such as gum disease, bone loss and tooth loss; following an implant, smoking could cause peri-implantitis, inflammation of the tissues around the implant. Nicotine also reduces the blood flow in the mouth and delays healing.
Dr. Fitzgerald may suggest quitting smoking for two weeks prior to the surgery and through the healing process. The cumulative effect that smoke has had on the gums prior to the procedure may affect the stability of the implants, but quitting will improve the chances of an effective implant.
After the surgery, make sure to take good care of the surgical site to prevent infections. Take all prescribed medications and avoid tobacco, alcoholic and carbonated beverages. Keep the areas clean by gently rinsing and maintain regular cleaning habits. Failing to keep the implants clean will increase the chances of implant failure.
Don’t Be Afraid of Dental Implants
Dental implants are a proven solution to replace missing teeth and have decades of research behind them showing high rates of success. Most of the causes of failure come after the procedure itself. Since planning is such an important part of the surgical process, Dr. Fitzgerald relies on his experience and provides state-of-the-art technology, including the Kodak 9500 cone beam scanner, to properly diagnose and assess your dental situation to minimize the chances of failure. His office uses only high-quality implants to ensure the implants will last. Come in for a free consultation and let Dr. Fitzgerald answer all your questions about implants.