Dental implants are essential for restoring a patient’s smile as these are implanted in place of missing teeth. Dental implants can be added to replace one tooth, several teeth, and even entire teeth count; many people have resorted to restoring missing teeth by adding dental implants.
While dental implants are a very successful manner to replace missing teeth, there are some cases where dental implants can fail. Thus, here we’ll elaborate on the main reasons dental implants could potentially fail and what dentists and people with dental implants can do to prevent dental implant problems.
Dental Implant Problem Symptoms
Before we delve further into the issues that dental implant problems can cause, here are some of the common symptoms that occur and point to a possible problem:
- Pain and discomfort around the implant
- Problems when chewing
- Possible swelling
- The implant becomes loose or detached
- Gum inflammation
- Gum recession
Common Dental Implant Problems
Because of various reasons, many people worldwide have lost teeth in adulthood, and many have resorted to receiving dental implants. Still, there are cases where dental implants can develop problems, like:
- Loose Implant: after the implant is installed into the jaw bone, it takes a while to integrate with the bone; the process lasts for 4 to 6 months. If the bone does not start to fuse correctly, the implant could loosen and cause discomfort. Another thing that can cause a loose implant is persistent teeth grinding that can damage the implant, interrupt proper bone fusing and loosen the dental implant. To fix this issue, the patient needs to be measured and supplied with a proper mouth guard to protect the teeth.
- Infection: infection of the place where the dental implant is placed is a possibility that occurs from several factors like poor oral hygiene, smoking, autoimmune disease, or bacteria. It can also occur when the diseased tooth is removed, and the place is not clear from bacteria. When the dental implant is installed, the bacteria can still cause inflammation and infection, resulting in pain, swollen gums, pus, and more severe conditions.
- Insufficient Bone Support: if a patient does not have sufficient healthy bone tissue to support the dental implant, the dental implant can’t properly integrate with the bone and will fail. Thus, dentists should take careful measurements of the bone and assess the condition of the healthy bone that should receive the dental implant.
- Gum Recession: the gum around the dental implant could begin to recede, causing pain, bleeding or inflammation. It is a condition that is most likely caused by inflammation, and it needs to be addressed immediately to prevent further tissue loss and fix the underlying problem.
- Nerve Damage: nerve damage is a possible issue related to dental implants that are mainly installed in the lower jaw, and it happens if the implant is placed near the main nerve that goes through the mandible. In such cases, the dental implant should be removed to give the nerve time to repair itself, and a new approach to installing the dental implant should be taken.
- Sinus Problems: the bones in the face are hollow, and if a dental implant is improperly placed in the upper jaw, it can extend into the sinus cavities and cause pain, infection, loss of smell, swelling, and chronic sinus inflammation. It can be treated by removing the dental implant, waiting for the tissue to heal, and properly implanting a new dental implant.
- Implant Micro-movements: dental implants can shift slightly if not placed or healed correctly. While this is not an immediate issue, it is a cause for concern as it is an indicator that the dental implant can become loose in the future and should be addressed promptly.
How to Prevent Dental Implant Problems
Now that we’ve covered the commonly and not-so-commonly found dental implant problems, let’s discuss how you can prevent and treat some of these:
- Establish proper oral hygiene – brush the teeth twice a day with a quality toothbrush and adequate toothpaste; make sure you floss once a day to remove food residue from between the teeth
- Avoid smoking and eating sugary foods – smoking and excessive intake of carbohydrates can damage the teeth and cause the failure of dental implants
- Add more calcium-rich foods into the diet – calcium is essential for bone and tooth health, so adding calcium-rich foods is an excellent way to strengthen bone
- Avoid chewing hard candy or crushing ice with your teeth – excessive force from crushing hard foods can damage and loosen the dental implants
- Visit the dentist twice a year – maintain a dental visit schedule to check and follow the condition of your teeth and dental implants.
Digital Dentistry Tools to the Rescue
Technological advancements have been used in many aspects of life, and dentistry is where digital technologies have found a proper application. It means that cosmetic and implant dentistry is changing, and digital dentistry tools are becoming more and more successful in preventing dental implant problems. Here are the three leading digital dentistry tools that can help prevent dental implant problems before they occur:
The intraoral scanner is on the frontline of digital dentistry innovation. It is a tool used to make a perfect 3D scan of the patient’s teeth, measuring each tooth’s exact shape and size and the area where the dental implant should be placed. The scans provided by intraoral scanners are infinitely more accurate than traditional impression methods and are more comfortable for the patient. Using an intraoral scanner like Great limits the chair time and improves the overall patient experience. The best thing is that it provides a perfectly fitting and colour-matched dental implant with limited complication options.
The CAD/CAM techniques are the next step in creating the perfect dental implant. They take the 3D scans obtained by the intraoral scanner and transform them into an accurately designed dental implant that will fit the patient perfectly.
3D Modeling and Milling
Once the model of the dental implant is ready, it is milled using a precise CNC machine from a ceramic block that matches the exact colour of the patient’s teeth. Thus, the automated process provides the dentist with a perfectly executed dental implant ready for installation, ensuring the patient receives a form-fitting dental implant with very few possible further issues.
To Wrap Up
Please note that not everyone is a good candidate for receiving dental implants, so as a dentist, it is up to you to recognize this and provide the patient with proper advice and guidance and help them through the entire process. Also, prefer to use digital dentistry tools in the dental practice; we are talking about using high-tech intraoral scanners like Great that can help you get precise measurements for dental implants, preventing up to 90% of possible dental implant problems.