Dental implants have an up to 98 percent success rate. Still, no procedure is perfect, and these dental appliances can fail to integrate or become loose and fall out at a later date. Typically, implant failure is caused by insufficient bone or the development of an oral infection. However, here are two lesser-known reasons why an implant may fail and what you can do about it.
The dental implant procedure is typically a two-stage process. The cosmetic dentist first puts the implant post in the empty socket and waits for it to bond with the jaw bone. Once osseointegration has occurred, the dentist places the permanent crown on top to complete the procedure.
With increasing frequency, though, dentists are placing the permanent crown within a day or two of implanting the post. This is typically referred to as an immediate load procedure. This procedure reduces the amount of post-surgical care needed and allows for quicker recovery times.
The trouble is that immediate loading can lead to a problem called overloading. This is when too much pressure or force is exerted on the implant, disrupting the integration process. Either the bone fails to form around the post or what little bone that has developed breaks under the pressure.
Overloading is caused by the person using the implant before it's time to do so. It can also be caused by tooth grinding (also called bruxism). To avoid having a dental implant fail because of overloading, it's important to follow the dentist's aftercare instructions, which typically include avoiding eating on that side of the mouth or following a soft diet for a while. If you suspect you have a tooth-grinding problem, talk to your dentist about getting a mouth guard, which can help protect all your teeth from the damage caused by this issue.
Although very rare, an allergic reaction to the implant can also cause the procedure to fail. Implant posts are primarily made from titanium. However, they may also contain traces of nickel. According to some research, approximately 3 percent of men and 17 percent of women are allergic to this metal. When a titanium post containing nickel is inserted into the mouth of someone with a metal allergy, the area may become inflamed or infected and unable to sustain or integrate the implant.
If you're allergic to nickel, you should probably avoid getting titanium dental implants. Instead, talk to the cosmetic dentist about implants made with zirconium. This is a non-metal material that has been found to integrate with the bone just as well as titanium, though a little more care may be required to prevent the implant from fracturing.
For more information about dental-implant failure and how to prevent it, contact a cosmetic dentist.