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A dental implant is fast becoming the treatment of choice for the replacement of missing teeth. This treatment choice has been around long enough now to have been followed up for a significant amount of time and to have been used in a variety of different clinical situations. The success rate over a period of 10 years is estimated to be a staggering 98 percent or more worldwide. It would be extremely challenging to find another surgical procedure with that kind of success rate across medical fields.
However, there has been one inadvertent effect of this success. A lot of people do not quite understand the concept of implant failure or how to recognize it. Some people also mistakenly believe that since the dental implant is titanium in nature, it is invulnerable to infection!
How To Recognize A Failing Implant?
Some of the things that should raise a red flag are the presence of swelling, redness and bleeding in the area. In fact, bleeding around the implant is one of the first symptoms that will be apparent. Gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums around an implant is taken much more seriously than around teeth. This is because even though the implant looks and behaves in a manner similar to natural teeth, the underlying architecture is very different.
Pain, surprisingly, may or may not be present. Even if it is present, it is from the infection affecting the surrounding structures, rather than the implant itself. Mobility is one of the last few things that you will notice in an implant before it fails completely. This is again different than how a natural tooth behaves which may become mobile quite early in the infection cycle. In the case of implants, there is almost never any going back once it becomes mobile.
Why Do Implants Fail?
There are several reasons for why Implants could fail and the most common among them have to do with neglect. Poor oral hygiene can affect the longevity of dental implants in much the same manner that they affect natural teeth. Even though, Dental Implants are immune to decay causing micro-organisms thanks to their titanium body, they are equally (or slightly more) prone to gum disease as natural teeth.
Implants can also fail if they have an excessive amount of pressure loaded on them. Such situations can result in cases where lesser, smaller and narrower implants were placed than were necessary. This is an operator error that will only come to light after a few years of use.
Certain age-related bone loss, especially in post menopausal women, can also be a factor in the loss of supporting bone around the dental implants.