Losing a permanent tooth, especially in an accident or due to negligence in maintaining dental health, can be a harrowing experience. The embarrassment at having your smile disfigured (if the tooth happened to be an incisor or a canine) may be the most obvious and expected feeling but the most deep-rooted sentiment is that of losing an appendage that had been a part of your anatomy for so many years and had partaken of its share in your entire biological entity. However, in the present age of advanced technology and path breaking scientific progress, the field of medicine offers n number of solutions for even the most hopeless cases. Indeed, the gap between medical and miracle has diminished phenomenally and the day isn’t far when regeneration, instead of cure, will be scientifically and practically possible!
Extending this optimism in the field of dentistry, nowadays, losing a permanent tooth is only temporarily harrowing and dental implants have made it possible for the beauty of those smiles to remain untouched by accidents or oral diseases. However, as in case of any invasive medical procedures undertaken for restorative purposes, there is always some amount of probability that such restorative effort would not meet with success. Such failure can happen in two cases – either the body rejects the object that is surgically implanted to restore normal appearance and functions or the site of this procedure along with the implant that gets infected. In either case, the health and physical comfort of the patient gets seriously compromised. Failure of a dental implant is one such case.
Causes of Failed Dental Implants
A dental implant is deemed to have failed if it is not properly fixed (it can be moved easily by applying little pressure), is lost or the area around the implant shows signs of loss in bone density exceeding 1 mm within a year of the implant. The failure of an implant may be caused by dental caries, failure of the implant to fit perfectly with the surrounding bones or due to any chronic infection of the oral cavity. The last cause for failure is most prominently seen in smokers, diabetics and individuals who chew tobacco and who maintain sub standard oral hygiene levels. Negligence on the dental surgeon’s part, poor bone quality, broken crown screw and nerve damage can also lead to failure of a tooth implant.
Symptoms of Failed Dental Implants
Although not necessary, but pain around the implant region is one of the most significant signs that the implant has failed. More signs to look out for include accumulation of pus around the implant, mobility of the implant and bleeding around the implant, especially while brushing or eating. One of the most prominent signs that the implant has failed is if the temperature of the implant feels warmer than the rest of the jaw upon which the implant rests.
Dental Implant Failure Treatment
In case of implant failure caused by or resulting in an infection, an antibiotic course, commonly using tetracycline, is administered to render the area around the implant sterile and stop the growth and spread of the infection. In case of failure due to poor tooth material, the implant is removed and replaced with a better quality implant. Broken or fractured implants or crown screws must be removed as soon as possible to prevent scraping of tissues and resultant infections. In such situations where removing and replacing the implants is the only option, guided tissue generation using restorative materials can be undertaken.
Before undertaking to tamper with the failed implants, they must be detoxified using an antibacterial solution. Since the solution is to be applied inside the mouth and part of it would get absorbed by the saliva, care must be taken to use a solution which does not incite a toxic reaction from the patient’s body. For this purpose, a natural anti bacterial agent such as citric acid is ideal.
While the average failure rate of tooth implants is 5%, the figure goes up to about 30% if the implant happens to be adjacent to a removable denture or next to a fixed dental bridge. Also, the rate of failure is higher in people who smoke, chew tobacco, already suffer from infections of the oral cavity or maintain poor oral hygiene. Therefore, whether the implant will click or not depends to a significant extent upon the person getting the implants as his/her eating habits and sense of hygiene play a significant part in lengthening/shortening the life of his/her implants.