Dental Implant Failure (And How To Avoid It)
Advice for our Ashby and Burton patients who are considering implants.
Dental implants are one of the great success stories in dentistry of the last 50 years or so. They have enabled people who have lost teeth, whether individually or as a full arch, to have replacement teeth that are strong, stable and look and function just like a natural tooth. The success rate of this treatment is also extremely high, but this does not mean that it cannot fail.
We have carried out this procedure at Alexandra Dental Care for a number of years now and, where patients have followed our advice, the procedure has resulted in many years of a strong replacement tooth or teeth. Not all patients do follow our advice though, and this is where implant failure becomes an unfortunate possibility.
The patient’s role
Although the skills and experience of your dentist is a major factor in a successful implant placement (one reason why it is usually best to avoid the ‘cheap dental implants abroad’ kind of offers), the patient has a major role to play in their success too.
The following are some of the most significant things that you can do to help prevent implant failure.
Avoid smoking and alcohol
Although this is good advice, both from a dental and general medical perspective, it is especially critical in the months before and after you have had your implant placed. Both smoking and drinking can lead to poor gum health and also increase the risk of infections. Both of these, and a lesser known one called peri-implantitis (similar to gum disease) are a major cause of dental implant failure. You must be honest with yourself about this if you are considering implants. If you are unable to forgo these habits for a few months, then teeth implants may not be for you.
Once a dental implant has been placed, it goes through a process known as osseointegration. During this period, the bone and titanium implant fuse together, creating an extremely secure replacement tooth root. This is a slow and gradual process which can take around three months or more to fully complete. During this time, it is important that as little stress is placed upon the implant as possible when you eat.
We generally recommend that patients stick to a diet of very soft foods for a while after the implant has been placed to avoid any pressure being put on it at all. After a while, you can start to add in slightly firmer foods such as boiled potatoes and well cooked pasta. Over time, you can gradually build this up to your normal diet, though it is still best to avoid the harder foods until the final part of the treatment.
Keep your appointments
You will be recalled at regular intervals during the osseointegration stage so that we can monitor the health of your new implant. We may advise you on how to improve your cleaning of it to keep it in optimal health. You will be given full instructions on the best way to do this as you can’t simply brush the implant, at least for a while. Even if you feel that there are no problems, you must keep these appointments as failure to do so will increase the chances of your implant failing.
We acknowledge that having dental implants does require some commitment for a few months and that this can feel quite inconvenient. The implant procedure though does offer the best opportunity for you to have a long lasting, attractive and highly functional set of replacement teeth without the inconvenience of alternatives such as dentures. We are always happy to discuss any aspect of this treatment that you wish to, so that you can make a decision based on the facts and our extensive experience.
If you live in the Ashby or Burton area and have been thinking about having a dental implant and would like to find out more information about what the procedure entails, please call Alexandra Dental Care on 01283 216347.Google+