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Why would Dental Implants fail

Why would Dental Implants fail

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Why would Dental Implants fail?

A man in his 60s suffered from gum disease who had 3 teeth removed and 2 implants placed immediately. His mouth was swollen for 2 months and was told it’s all part of normal healing process after the surgery. One morning he woke up with one implant that has come out of his gum! He was shocked and thought at least he didn’t swallow it.

At our practice, we see patients like this gentleman who has problems with their implants done both in Australia or Overseas. Studies show early implant failure rate is approximately 1%-5% and failure rate after 10 years has a range of 2%-10%. In clinical practice, the numbers can be even higher.

Below are several reasons why dental implants can fail:

   1. Infection
Healing of the bone and gums around the implant requires adequate blood circulation.  It might be delayed or fail to occur if infection occurs during or after the surgery of implant placement. For patients with pre-existing gum disease or other medical conditions, their body might reject the implant and result in infection.

   2. Smoking
Cigarettes contain nicotine, which can prohibit healing of wounds by limiting delivery of blood and nutrient to the site.

   3. Medication treating bone related condition
It has been recently discovered that medication used to treat osteoporosis and bone malignancy can impact of the success of dental implants. They affect bone remodelling (resorption and formation) that can directly result in lack of healing.

   4. Patients’ occlusion
Some patients have habit of severe teeth grinding during sleep or bite and chew with extremely hard food. Such heavy biting forces can loosen the screw component or even implant itself over time. 

   5. Poor oral hygiene
Poor hygiene with long-term build-up of bacterial plaque and tartar can result in constant chronic inflammation of gums in the oral cavity. It will then cause resorption of gums and bones and reduce success of implants.

   6. Technical issues
Poor choices of implants or prosthetic components, lack of treatment planning, unsatisfactory management of surgery and wound can lead to early failure or long-term usage problems.

Although dental implants enjoy an overall high success rate, it is not for everyone. Prior to having implant treatment, individuals should have a comprehensive exam which includes full medical and dental history, study models, photos and x-rays.

The above-mentioned factors need to be screened for dentists to evaluate success rate and risks. To have a satisfactory result, pre-operative discussion with the dentist is paramount. Understanding of clinician’s professional experience can increase confidence of the patients when it comes to deciding treatment options.

Furthermore, proper care after implant treatment Is essential to successful outcome. Although implants don’t get decays, they still can develop gum diseases and infection. Therefore, standard oral hygiene needs to be practised carefully. In addition, 6 monthly review should be arranged to check for condition of implants.

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