Dental Care

Dental Implant Failure and Treatment

In order to understand dental implant failure or success, you must know what a dental implant entails.

This is an artificial tooth root that is used to resemble one tooth or a group of teeth used in different types of dentistry.

This would include implant-supported bridges and crowns as well as dentures.

Advances in Dentistry Support Dental Implants

Today with the many advances that have been made in dentistry the dental implants used are more natural and have more similarities of an actual tooth root.

They are placed within the bone and function the same as the original tooth. The implant is typically a titanium screw which resembles a tooth root.

The titanium used in dental implants is usually one of four grades. They are graded according to the amount of iron and carbon they contain.

Another grade 5 has recently gained some popularity in use for dental implants. This is Titanium 6AL-4V, meaning the titanium alloy has 6% aluminum and 4% Vanadium alloy. This grade has similar osseointegration as that of pure titanium.

Osseointegration is the attachment of the osseous tissue or bony tissue to the implant.

This type of alloy resists tension and fractures more so than many other types of titanium. Today's implants are mostly made of one of the four grades but some implants are using the Titanium 6AL-4V for this reason.

Titanium has been tested for the use of implants for many years according to the American Academy of Implant Prosthodontists, and there is no evidence of the body producing an antigen-antibody response which sometimes occurs in transplants such as kidney and heart transplants.

Dental Implant Failure is Rare

There are however, some issues that have occurred in those receiving dental implants that need to be addressed. The implants are not affected by cavities but can develop peri-implantitis.

This is an inflammation of the bone around the implant and is usually associated with patients who have diabetes. If a patient has uncontrolled type II diabetes certain aspects must be considered.

The healing time of the implant can be delayed because of lack of blood circulation to the mucous membranes around the implant.

This is more prominent in those with type II diabetes as well as those who smoke and people who use bisphosphonates. A drug used for the treatment of some types of breast cancer and often taken for osteoporosis, it can cause healing to be delayed. Therefore, it may be inadvisable for patients taking this drug to have dental implants.

Another consideration of dental implant failure occurs when the patient has a condition called bruxism. This occurs when people clench their teeth or grind them.

The implants can be affected more so when they are healing but this is a problem throughout the whole life of the implant.

Because natural teeth have a periodontal ligament that functions as a shock absorber allowing teeth to move when horizontal and vertical force is applied, they are not affected as much by the clenching and grinding of the teeth.

However, dental implants do not have this ligament and since they are permanently anchored into the jaw bone, they cannot absorb this movement.

One way of reducing the affects of bruxism is to use a mouth guard which has been custom made for this.

Healing Time

An implant needs time to heal before the restoration is placed. This time period can vary from 2 to 6 months and this is an important step in dental implants.

A period of healing that is not long enough can result in dental implant failure which necessitates placing a new implant.  

Allowing sufficient time for the implant to attach to the bony tissue cannot be rushed because placing a new implant can take up to 18 months for healing, possible grafts and the actual placement of another implant.

Dental implants typically have a success rate of approximately 95%.

This will be determined by a few things such as the skill of the person placing the implant, the amount and condition of the bone at the site of the implant and the oral care of the person receiving the implant.

Of course, as with most surgeries, general health and post-surgical care also contribute to the success rates.

Dental implant failure is not usually a problem if all the precautions are taken and after-care is provided.


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