Tooth loss can be a traumatic experience, whether you lose teeth during an accident or due
to illness. The good news is, there are several treatment options to restore your smile and
regain functionality, including dentures, bridges, and dental implants.
While dental implants are not right for every patient, they are generally considered the
most desirable option because of the many benefits they infer. They’re not only permanent
replacements for missing teeth, but because the titanium screw that acts as a base for the
crown bonds with the jaw bone, they can help to prevent bone loss common following the
loss of a tooth.
In addition, dental implants function and look the most like natural teeth, allowing patients
to eat, drink, smile, laugh, brush, and floss with confidence. They also tend to be the
longest-lasting tooth replacement.
That said, dental implants are not without potential problems. While most patients
experience few, if any, issues with their implants, there are cases in which dental implants
could fail without proper treatment. Here are just a few early and late dental implant issues
that patients may experience.
It’s not unusual to experience some discomfort and swelling following any intensive dental
procedure, but it should subside in short order as your mouth heals. If inflammation
persists, however, you could be experiencing peri-implantitis, a condition related to dental
Peri-implantitis is more than just ongoing inflammation. If it goes untreated, it can lead to
pain and bleeding, the formation of pus, and even bone loss that causes the implant to
ultimately fail. This condition is commonly associated with diseases like osteoporosis or
diabetes, as well as prior oral health concerns like periodontitis.
In addition, peri-implantitis is more likely in patients who use tobacco products, as well as
those that have poor oral hygiene practices. It may also occur in conjunction with issues like
bruxism, where patients clench the jaws or grind teeth.
On the upside, many of these factors can be controlled with help from experienced dental
professionals, and there are treatment options to explore, including improved oral hygiene
practices, the use of antimicrobial therapy, and in some cases, debridement (removal of
damaged tissue). Surgical options may follow if these treatments don’t produce significant
Infection is always a concern following oral procedures, and in the case of implants, it can
have serious and lasting consequences. The biggest contributors to this potential problem
are personal habits, including poor oral hygiene and tobacco use, although health conditions
and medications that affect immunity and the body’s ability to heal can also play a role.
The importance of healthy habits and good oral hygiene cannot be overstated when it
comes to successful implantation. If you want the best chance to avoid implant failure,
optimizing health is essential.
When your natural teeth and your jaw are healthy, they work together to provide the strong
system needed to chew food. When you replace a tooth with a dental implant, there’s
always a chance it might not work as well as your real teeth, even though it is designed to
hold up to the same stresses your natural teeth do.
Unfortunately, you could experience movement (looseness and shifting) from your dental
implant for a variety of reasons. The most common is insufficient bone density to support
the structure of the implant, as well as bone tissue that simply doesn’t bond correctly with
the titanium post at the base of the implant.
The main solution for such issues is a bone graft procedure, whereby bone is added to the
jaw to create a denser, more stable base for the implant. This procedure can take several
months to complete, as it takes time for your jaw to heal and the graft to succeed.
Whether you have insufficient bone density from the start, due to age, heredity, or health
complications, or you experience osseointegration issues (the jaw bone won’t heal and
bond to the implant correctly), a bone graft could improve the general fitness of your jaw to
support an implant and ensure success.
Dental implants are an excellent option to explore as you attempt to recover from the shock
and disappointment of tooth loss. If you’re seeking expert advice and services related to
dental implants, contact the qualified and caring professionals at Rio Vista Family Dentistry
today at 619-299-1122 or online to schedule an appointment and discuss your options.