After a dental implant procedure, there’s always a risk — no matter how small — that the implant may fail. However, a failed implant is different from an ailing implant. For an ailing implant, prompt treatment may be able to save the implant and prevent complete failure. However, leaving an ailing implant untreated can be detrimental and create a host of problems. An ailing implant is affected by peri-implant mucositis without bone loss. A variety of techniques can be used for surface decontamination, or a periodontist can choose to use a regenerative approach. A YAG laser, which is also used after cataract surgery to remove cloudiness of the artificial lens, can be used to effectively remove bacterial colonies and calculus from around the implant. While ailing implants were often hastily removed in the past, newer technology has allowed periodontists to help save implants from failure and it’s often not necessary to remove an implant affected by peri-implant mucositis right away.
Ailing, Failing, Or Failed Dental Implant
Having a toothache is no laughing matter because when your tooth hurts, it really hurts to laugh. A dental implant mimics your natural tooth and is secured into your jaw bone like a screw. When dental implants are placed, they bond with your own bone and serve as a foundation for one or multiple artificial teeth, called crowns.
When you’ve had a dental implant, you may think that you’ve solved your dental health problem and can be on your way. Sometimes this is the case, but sometimes it’s not. The bad news is that implants fail from time to time. The good news is that there is something you can do about it.
Unlike a loose crown or cap, a loose or slipping veneer, poorly fitting denture or partial…. an undiagnosed loose dental implant can become destructive almost immediately, depending upon the cause of the “looseness.” Like a tent stake that is firmly hammered into the ground, a few lateral or sideways forces that impact an implant can make the implant device wobble repeatedly, eventually loosening within the bone and then destroying the osseointegration of the implant. When it is known that the crown and/or abutment is loose and not the implant device (housing), removal of the loose part(s) can prevent potential damage to the osseointegrated implant. In cases where the implant device is indeed loose, the treatment typically consists of replacing the implant device with or without bone graft material.
Root Form Implants Problems Can Be Classified As Ailing, Failing, Or Failed:
- Failed implant– if the implant has any mobility the only acceptable treatment is removal
- Failing implant– if checkup x-rays show increased bone loss around the top of the implant, the cause must be determined and corrected. The cause could be poor oral hygiene, a bad bite or a host of other reasons. After correcting the problem the resorbed bone should be grafted
- Ailing implants– the least severe of the three categories. Any signs of inflammation, redness or mild bone loss may be signs that the implant is not completely healthy.
How Do You Know Your Implant Is Failing Or Ailing?
- Pain: Although pain is associated with the healing process of a dental implant, there is such a thing as too much pain. If the pain you’re feeling radiates throughout your mouth or jaw, or is especially sharp, your dental implant may be failing. If the pain is increasing, not decreasing, you should call your dentist.
- Gum swelling: Again, this is expected after dental surgery. Your gums will swell, but they shouldn’t stay swollen, and it shouldn’t spread. Redness indicates infection, and infection can spread throughout your mouth and eventually into your blood, which is very serious. If you find that the pain or swelling in your mouth is not lessening, but in fact increasing, call your dentist immediately.
- Trouble chewing: An implant is supposed to be just like your tooth, so if you’re feeling pain or any other discomfort when you’re eating or chewing something, it’s a sign that something’s off with your implant. Just as pain while chewing can indicate a cavity in a natural tooth, pain while chewing can indicate that an implant is failing.
- Unsecured implants: Your implants should feel as natural in your mouth as your own teeth. In fact you shouldn’t be able to tell the difference, if done well. If your implants feel very conspicuous in your mouth or they wiggle and move around at all, you should immediately contact your dentist.
What Is Causing The Ailing And Failing Of Dental Implant?
Dental implant failure is relatively rare and, most of the time, a combination of a few different factors. There are four common causes:
- Early rejection: Some patients are very sensitive to foreign objects in their bodies like steel rods or dental implants. Additionally, some patients are allergic to certain materials, like metal. Your body can reject an implant before the bone has a chance to heal and, if you dental implant doe, you will start to suffer from the symptoms listed above.
- Late rejection: This is similar to early rejection but with one key difference – in late rejection, the bone has already healed from the surgery. A late rejection of an implant can be due to poor dental hygiene or post-op trauma, but the result is the same. You teeth will increasingly feel poorly.
- Older implants: If you think your dental implant is failing and you had it implanted more than ten years ago, it may be worn out. Dental technology moves quickly, and the materials and processes that dentists used ten years ago may not be holding up under the wear and tear of time.
- Poor dental hygiene: Implants are not susceptible to decay as they are not natural teeth. However, they are still susceptible to infection, which can cause implant failure. Excellent dental hygiene including brushing, flossing, and regular check-ups is paramount for keeping your implants in tip-top shape.
Diagnosing Between Failing And Ailing Dental Implant
The decision to remove an implant needs to be based on clinical assessments, radiographic evaluations or both. If the implant is deemed hopeless, there are devices that facilitate their removal. Furthermore, reimplantations can be performed successfully, but their survival rate appears to be lower than that of implants placed at sites from which they were not lost formerly.
What To Do For Ailing And Failing Dental Implant
The term “ailing” implant is an implant that has not failed, but needs some form of therapy in order to preclude failure. A biological complication of implant therapy characterized by inflammation in the soft tissues and progressive bone loss of supporting bone surrounding an osseointegrated implant is peri-implantitis, and can be the cause of an implant status changing from healthy to ailing. Although the diagnosis of peri-implantitis has been defined and reviewed, proposed treatment has varied considerably. In fact, to date, there have been six systemic reviews regarding the treatment of peri-implantitis. When deciding whether to treat an ailing implant, a similar decision matrix can be established as when deciding upon whether to save or extract a natural tooth. For example, is the implant strategic in the alveolar arch; in other words, does it support a single-tooth restoration or a full prosthesis? If explanted, can the implant be replaced, or do anatomical and/or financial limitations exist? In addition, the age, medical history, smoking status, oral hygiene status, and — most importantly — desires of the patient all have to be taken into consideration.
Ailing dental implants should not be condemned prematurely, because patients often respond to treatment of peri-implantitis. Many patients desire reimplantations in sites in which implants have failed. This procedure is valuable, especially if it makes possible the fabrication of an implant-supported fixed or removable prosthesis.
How To Prevent Ailing And Failing Of Dental Implant?
As stated before, the best way to maintain dental implants is by maintaining an excellent dental health regimen. Consider investing in an electric toothbrush since these mimic dentists’ tools closely. Even better than a sterling dental routine is picking a knowledgeable and competent dentist.
If you’ve recently (or not so recently) had dental implant surgery and are suddenly feeling an increase in pain or swelling, or discomfort or movement in your bite, you want to call an expert. No one likes a toothache, and the sooner you call, the sooner a professional can help you to a pain-free mouth.