When it comes to caring for your teeth, it’s vital to find the best treatment to suit your needs. If you’re someone who has lost teeth, you’ll know that there are a wide range of options — and a dental implants procedure is one of the most effective for long-term maintenance.
Any long-term decision regarding your teeth is life-changing, as it will affect many aspects of everyday life. If you’re someone with full or partial dentures, you will know that they have functional disadvantages due to the fact that they are removable, and they often aren’t as aesthetically pleasing. Another option is having a permanent bridge attached to your natural teeth, but again you may find that even this comes with a few issues, as well as the risk of them failing due to fracturing, decay, or gum disease.
Fortunately, dental implants overcome many of the issues brought on by dentures and bridges, making it by far the most effective treatment for long-term success in regards to function, oral health, and maintaining a natural-looking set of teeth. Studies revealed that 15-20% of traditional crowns and bridges fail within 10 years, while implants enjoy a less than 2% failure rate after 10 years. If you were to expand the data set, say 15 to 20 years, for example, the difference would be even more substantial.
With that said, few things last a lifetime, especially when you consider the wear and tear that teeth experience — and not only by eating. There are also many people who suffer from bruxism, and there’s potential for accidents here and there. Take this into account, even despite the fact that as few as 2% fail, and dental implant problems are certainly a possibility.
So, what can you do to maximise success and minimise your chances of experiencing problems? In this post, we’ll highlight some dental implant problems (both short-term and long-term) and how you can overcome them.
Short-Term Dental Implant Problems
1. Infection or Healing Issues
Although the installation of a dental implant is a surgical procedure, and even though the mouth contains an abundance of bacteria, if a dentist takes the proper precautions and performs the procedure in sterile conditions, the risk of infection is low. As an added prevention against infection, patients are sometimes prescribed antibiotics. Pain or discomfort is usually minimal and will last between one to four days.
Although dental implant infections are extremely rare, they aren’t unheard of. This can occur if another area of your mouth becomes infected and spreads to the area housing your dental implant, or if you have an existing problem. Either way, you should contact your dentist right away to catch the problem early and prevent any need for another procedure.
2. Pre-Existing Medical Condition
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to dental implants. One of the essential aspects to take into account is if you have a medical condition or disease that could impact the success of your implant. This is why it’s crucial to get a medical examination before you move forward with dental implants procedures.
Conditions such as cancer, diabetes, persistent gum disease and irradiated jaws, as well as alcoholism, smoking, medication and various other ailments all have the potential to cause dental implant problems. While this doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to have them, it could become more difficult for the implant to anchor onto the bone or take longer to heal. Your dentist should be aware (or made aware) of your medical history and decide whether or not you’re a suitable candidate for dental implants.
3. Poor Surgical Technique
If you’ve decided to get dental implants — or any other surgery, in fact — it’s crucial to do your research and find a reputable, high-quality surgeon. A skilled dental surgeon will have an in-depth knowledge of the osseointegration process (anchoring dental implants to the jaw bone), as well the surgical skills to ensure that the dental implant procedure is performed safely and correctly.
If this isn’t the case, and your dentist either lacks the skill and/or knowledge to carry out a dental implants procedure in an efficient and correct manner, you run the risk of infection or complications further down the line.
At Blue Light Dental Clinic, we provide dental implants of the highest-quality, revitalising smiles and chewing function with aesthetically pleasing results. With confidence in our craft, extensive knowledge and over 20 years of experience, we provide top-quality restorations.
4. Not Following Your Dentist’s Advice
The healing process is very important to the success of your dental implant. Not only does it prevent infection or other complications, but it also ensures the implant anchors correctly with the bone and doesn’t come loose. Following the dental implants procedure, you will be provided with the necessary advice and guidance to make sure it heals properly.
Examples of best practice for healing are keeping heavy physical activity to a minimum for a few days, keeping the surgical area clean, avoiding certain foods if you’re told to, and being vigilant about taking your medication. There may also be additional guidance if you happen to have a medical condition or illness at the time of your surgery.
Failing to follow your dentist’s instructions can lead to swelling, discomfort and various other complications — as well as the realisation that you should have listened to their advice!
Long-Term Dental Implant Problems
Poor Oral Hygiene
So, you’ve got your dental implants, and after following the advice of your dentist, they have healed perfectly without complications. Now comes the most important part of all. Good oral hygiene practice is essential to maintaining your new teeth and implants. Although dental implants aren’t as prone to issues seen with natural teeth, such as fractures and decay, this doesn’t mean they are invincible. They’ll still require the same level of maintenance to remain in optimum condition.
Neglecting good oral hygiene practices will have a severe impact on the overall strength of your teeth, as well as how healthy your gums are. A build-up of bacterial plaque or food can lead to infections, inflamed gums, or even the loss of your implant altogether. Avoiding these issues is quite simple: brush your teeth, floss, and have regular check-ups with a dentist.
Inefficient Treatment Planning/Incorrect Placement
Another long-term issue is in some cases where the implants are in the wrong location or angle, or the aesthetics of the tooth prevent it from functioning properly. The dental surgeon who places your implants should know the type of teeth you will eventually have. This will determine the exact area, amount and the angle at which the implants should be placed. Therefore, your dental implant treatment should start with the dentist who will be providing the final teeth, rather than a dental surgeon.
Some implant dentists will provide both the surgical (implant) and prosthetic (teeth), while other dentists only provide the prosthetics, and others only provide surgery. If two separate dental professionals are handling your dental implant treatment, it’s vital for both of them communicate beforehand. It’s also important that the treatment planning is handled by the dentist first, because (as we mentioned above) the type of teeth will determine the surgery required.
Too Much Force on the Jaw Bone
Despite the fact that a dental implant is metal anchored into bone, and therefore provides a solid foundation, this doesn’t mean that it’s indestructible. Too much stress or tension on an implant can lead to bone loss, which can create pockets in the gum. This not only loosens the implant and risks losing it, but any build-up of food or bacteria in a pocket can lead to infection or swelling.
We mentioned above how important the treatment planning stage is, and it also plays a vital role in preventing complications and long-term issues due to too much strain on the implant. Although the dental implant procedure is of a medical nature, a key aspect of the process is precise engineering. So, therefore, if your dental surgeon fails to place enough implants, if the implants are too short, too small, or at too much of an angle, the strain on the implant(s) and jawbone can be excessive.
It’s for this reason that the treatment planning process is so essential to avoid these problems and ensure that your dental implants are a suitable fit for the surgical area and remain firmly in place.
At Blue Light Dental Clinic, our dentists have over 20 years of experience that allows them to provide customers with the highest-quality, scientifically-engineered dental implants. Please get in touch today to book a consultation!