In studies that followed up with dental implant recipients throughout a 13 year period, the overall survival rate of the implants was 95%. Jawbone loss, which will occur when there is no longer a tooth root maintaining it, measured an average of just 1.3 mm.
With proper care, excellent dental habits, and good oral health, implants can last a lifetime. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everyone. While the likelihood of implant failure is slim, it is still a possibility.
Whether you’re planning on having a dental implant procedure or already have them, you should know what signs to look for just in case.
Here’s how to know whether you need to get an implant restored.
SIGNS YOU NEED YOUR DENTAL IMPLANT RESTORED
RESTORING YOUR DENTAL IMPLANT
The most common issue to arise with an implant, signaling that it needs some form of restoration, is that it has become loose. While it isn’t always the case, a loose implant can be a sign that it has failed and should be addressed as soon as possible.
However, there are other reasons an implant may feel loose, some of which are an easy, one-appointment fix.
THE DENTAL IMPLANT HAS FAILED
If an implant does fail, it will typically occur within the first year of having it placed. A failed dental implant will cause inflammation, pain, fever, and infection. The implant may begin to move as it loosens from the implant site. The post may even become visible as the irritated gums start to recede.
If you do experience these symptoms after having your implant placed, you should contact your dentist right away to have it examined. Until then, do not push or rock your loose tooth. Unlike natural teeth which are held in place by ligaments, implants are located in the bone of your jaw where movement can cause serious damage.
If an implant fails it will need to be surgically removed. Your dentist will then create a treatment plan that might include a bone graft to increase the density in the jawbone and retrying the implant process once you’ve healed.
A BROKEN ABUTMENT
More often than not, a loose implant is the result of the crown or abutment needing to be either tightened or replaced. As with a failed implant, a broken abutment should be addressed right away before it can cause damage to surrounding tissue.
Fortunately, fixing a broken abutment is much simpler than fixing a post. Your dentist will remove the crown to access the broken abutment. After removing the old abutment from the post, your dentist will place a new one followed by your crown.
GUM DISEASE SURROUNDING AN IMPLANT
Peri-implantitis is the inflammation of the tissue around a dental implant. Signs of peri-implantitis include tender gums, red-colored gums, bleeding when bushing, a loose implant, a receding gumline, and pain or swelling around the area.
Not only can gum disease compromise your implant, but it can also affect neighboring teeth and the jawbone. Schedule an appointment to receive an exam and treatment right away. Your dentist will create a treatment plan to manage the disease. If the disease has spread to the post of the implant in your jaw, surgery will be required.
RESTORING THE DENTAL CROWN COVERING YOUR IMPLANT
Crowns have an average lifespan of about 10 to 15 years. They can last longer with proper, diligent care, but you should expect to have them replaced around that time.
All-ceramic and porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns both boast similar benefits. In addition to being a spot-on match to the aesthetic characteristics of your natural teeth, they are also a relatively strong material. But while they are stronger than your natural teeth, they are not infallible. Just like your natural teeth when misused or abused, your crown can become chipped, cracked, or damaged.
CHIPPED OR CRACKED DENTAL CROWN
If your crown becomes chipped or cracked, make an appointment to have it looked at. Depending on the extent of the damage your dentist may be able to restore it in the office. Severely cracked or chipped crowns may need to be replaced altogether.
CROWN IS LOOSE OR HAS FALLEN OFF
If your crown has fallen off, bring it with you to your appointment. Depending on the cause of your crown becoming dislodged, your dentist can either place it back, restore minor damage, or have a new one fabricated. A loose or missing crown should be addressed as soon as possible as it can lead to shifting and malocclusion (bite misalignment).
CROWN HAS BECOME SIGNIFICANTLY WORN
If you have bruxism (teeth grinding) or frequently misuse your teeth by eating items like hard candy or ice, it will take a toll on your dental crowns.
Crowns that have become worn down might not feel like a priority but they should be looked at and monitored by your dentist. The excessive wear can weaken the crown leading to cracks and breaks. Very worn crowns, just as with teeth, can lead to painful malocclusion that affects surrounding teeth and the ability to eat or talk.