Do Dental Implants Ever Fail?
If you’re thinking about getting dental implants to fill the void left behind by missing teeth, you’re in good company. According to the American Dental Association, over 5 million dental implant procedures are performed every year in America. For those who may not be familiar with this type of dental restoration, implants are artificial tooth roots that are inserted into the jaw bone, serving as the foundation for one or more replacement teeth. Studies show that dental implants have a success rate of 98 percent or better. And as a result, they have quickly become the restoration of choice for many dentists and patients alike. It is important to note, however, that there are things that can cause these dental restorations to fail, some of which can include the following:
Healthy gums are essential if you’re planning on getting dental implants. Studies show that gingivitis and periodontal disease can damage gum tissue as well as the jaw bone. Ideally, those who have active gum disease should schedule an appointment with their dentist to improve their gum health before undergoing a dental implant procedure. Just like gum disease can lead to the loss of one’s natural teeth, it can also cause dental implants to fail. Generally speaking, gum disease is a byproduct of plaque build-up that remains on the teeth too long. Plaque can extend below the gum line and damage the soft tissue that supports either natural teeth or implants.
If you’re a smoker and thinking about getting dental implants, you have yet another reason to consider kicking the habit. Smoking not only adversely affects your physical health but also your oral health. According to a study published in the Journal of International of Preventive and Community Dentistry, those who smoke have a denture failure rate that is as high as 20 percent. In short, smoking restricts blood flow to the gums, which, in turn, prevents the implant from properly fusing to the jaw bone.
NOT HAVING ENOUGH JAW BONE
Because the implant and the jaw bone both serve as the foundation for one or more replacement teeth, those who choose to undergo a dental implant procedure must have enough bone tissue in their jaw to support the implant. Otherwise, the implant will eventually fail. Therefore, those who have osteoporosis or other health problems that can cause a decline in bone density would not be a good fit for dental implants as the delicate bones that make up the jaw will be more susceptible to fracture, which can cause them to fail.
CHRONIC HEALTH PROBLEMS
In addition to osteoporosis, several other chronic health problems can rule out dental implants as a viable restoration for those wanting to fill the void left behind by missing teeth, some of which include rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. Studies show that these to health problems, specifically, can cause the body to heal at a much slower rate, which makes it difficult for the implant to fuse to the jaw bone.
According to a 2016 study conducted by McGill University, a public research university in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, certain heartburn medications have been shown to impede the growth of new bone tissue following a dental implant procedure. If this happens, the implant will not properly fuse to the jaw bone, which means that the implant is more likely to fail. It is also worth noting that a similar study conducted by the University of Buffalo revealed similar findings among those taking antidepressant medications as well.
POOR ORAL HYGIENE
Dr. Marc Lazare, a leading general and cosmetic dentist based in New York, says that practicing good oral hygiene, which entails flossing and brushing twice per day, is a great way to increase dental implant longevity. More than that, doing so also ensures you keep your natural teeth longer as well.
AN INEXPERIENCED DENTAL PRACTITIONER
If you choose to get dental implants, it would be in your best interest to work with a dentist who has performed these procedures several times over. In some cases, dental implants can fail due to the actions of an inexperienced dentist. For example, some dentists may use poorly-made dental implants that do not properly fuse to the jaw bone. The same applies to the crown or multiple replacement teeth that are used to cover the implant. Poorly made replacement teeth may not match the color of your natural teeth and may be more prone to chipping and damage. Choosing an inexperienced dentist for a dental implant procedure can also lead to the following:
Incorrectly placed implants – If an implant is not placed correctly, it is more likely to fail. They should be placed at an angle in the mouth that supports healing and is capable of withstanding the excessive force associated with biting and chewing. They should also be placed away from the nerves in the upper jaw or sinus cavity as this will minimize pain or sensitivity when biting and chewing.
Not allowing enough healing time – Most dental implants need to properly fuse to the jaw bone to create a strong bond. Placing crowns on implant too soon will impede the healing process, which, in turn, makes the implant susceptible to failure.
Indiscriminately accepting candidates – An inexperienced dentist is more likely to perform a dental implant procedure on patients who are not viable candidates, such as those without enough bone to support the implant or those with gum disease. As such, these patients will more than likely experience dental implant failure. An experienced dentist will make it a point to improve the patient’s overall oral health before moving forward with a dental implant procedure.
With proper care and the expertise of a licensed and experienced dentist, dental implants can last a lifetime. However, the crown and replacement teeth that cover them may need to be replaced periodically due to the normal wear and tear that comes from biting and chewing. To learn more about dental implants and whether or not you’re a good candidate for the procedure, consider scheduling a consultation with Dr. Marc Lazare today, a New York-based dentist who specializes in biomimetic dentistry and dental implants.