Dental implants serve as a critical solution for patients that need the root of a missing tooth replaced. Implants can help preserve and protect your jaw bone. Further, dental implants function like a natural tooth, are secure in your mouth, and can last a lifetime. Unfortunately, though it is a rare situation, a failed dental implant does happen.

How do I know if I have a failed dental implant?

Most dental implants consist of three parts—the implant body made of titanium which is inserted into the bone, an attachment which is commonly referred to as an abutment, and a dental crown adhered to the abutment to align with your remaining natural teeth. If one of these parts breaks or becomes loose, it can lead to issues, including a failed dental implant.

Though dental implants are made of metal, a biological process called osseointegration allows them to function. During osseointegration, living bone cells are produced by the body and begin to grow around the surface of the implant, anchoring to your jawbone. As time goes on, healthy bone surrounds the implant. And, if osseointegration doesn’t occur as it should, it can lead to post-implantation problems.

When your bone doesn’t grow as it should around a dental implant, you may experience mobility. The mobility might be subtle to begin with, and you might not even recognize it, but your dentist most certainly will during your next dental appointment. That said, if you feel that your implant has grown wobbly, it is essential to see your dentist at Metro East Dental Care as soon as possible.

You may also experience pain, swelling, or infection, though this is not always the case. If your dentist notices that your implant is mobile, they will recommend an X-ray to determine if there is a significant loss of bone around the dental implant’s metal portion.

Specifically, signs of a failed dental implant include:

  • Increased swelling
  • Gum inflammation
  • Gum recession
  • Severe pain or discomfort
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Loosening of an implant or a replaced tooth

What causes a failed dental implant?

Your dental implant’s success relies on many factors, including your habits and overall health. Certain medical conditions can increase the risk of a wobbly implant. Both gum disease (periodontal disease) and bruxism (teeth grinding) can damage an implant. Osteoporosis attacks bone strength and the tooth’s density, making it difficult for the implant screw to anchor. Cancer treatments can inhibit the bones’ ability to heal, and thus many dentists will suggest that implant treatment be paused during radiation therapy.

Prescription medications can also increase your risk of a failed dental implant. For example, a compound that is commonly found in antidepressants affects the rate of bone metabolism that can lead to osseointegration problems for those who take those medications. Smoking can also increase your chances of a failed dental implant, depending on where the implant will be placed in your mouth.

As a recap, the most common reasons for a failed dental implant include:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Advanced or untreated periodontal disease
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Cancer treatment and radiation therapy
  • Osteoporosis
  • Some prescription medications, including antidepressants
  • Smoking
  • Incomplete medical information

It is possible to fix it.

If you have a failed dental implant, the Metro East Dental Care team will look into why the failure happened. We’ll look at the implant itself as well as the restoration, the abutment, the thread devices, and the abutment material.

Thankfully, failed dental implants can be treated quickly. But your dentist will prioritize protecting your oral health above anything else. This means that the failed dental implant will be removed entirely before determining the best course of action.

You can lessen your chances of a failed dental implant.

Some dental implant failures can’t be prevented, but you can take steps to reduce the risk of failure:

  • Brush your teeth twice daily, floss once a day, and rinse with a fluoridated mouthwash.
  • Visit the Metro East Dental Care team every six months.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Increase your calcium intake.
  • Eat foods high in calcium such as milk, yogurt, broccoli, oranges, and cheese.
  • Ask us about a mouth guard to treat teeth grinding.
  • Avoid the temptation for immediate tooth replacement after an implant procedure.
  • Avoid eating ice and candy.

Metro East Dental Care can help lessen your risk of implant failure.

If you are searching online for a dentist near me or implants near me because you have a failed dental implant, then you have come to the right place. The Metro East Dental Care team in Granite City specializes in socket preservation, implant replacement, and implant-retained dentures.

Dr. May and the team will take the time to understand better your failed dental implant and the steps to replace it. To schedule a consultation with Dr. May and his team, call our office or fill out our online appointment request form.