All About Dental Implant Infection and Failures

Dental implants are cosmetic dental prostheses that are made from titanium posts. The dental implants typically act like natural teeth that are anchored into the jaw bone. Although dental implants have a 95% success rate, there are still slight chances of failure.

While most of the factors that lead to implant failure include lack of proper care, some of the implant failures also occur due to poor procedural planning. It is essential to always weigh the risk and benefits of implants before undergoing the treatment. Moreover, you must talk to your dentist to determine the best treatment for your dental condition. (1) Let’s read further to find out more about the dental implant infection and types of implant failure.

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Types of dental implant infections

Dental implant failures can occur immediately after the surgical procedure or during the healing period. Depending on the time of failure, dental implant infections can be classified into two types –

Early implant infections

Early dental implant failures usually occur during the first three to four months of the procedure. Some of the complications that arise during the initial failure phase include –

  • Infection in the site of surgery – this is mostly caused by autoimmune disease, smoking, and bad oral hygiene.
  • Micro-movements of the implant – micro-movements usually occur due to lack of stability of the implant in the jaw bone. It typically occurs when there is immediate tooth replacement. Therefore, it is essential to allow proper healing of the implant and place the artificial crown after the osseointegration (2)
  • Insufficient bone support – without adequate bone support the implant cannot integrate into the jaw which may lead to instability
  • Allergic reaction – people allergic to titanium may experience swelling, loss of taste and a tingling sensation in the jaw
  • Poor oral healthcare and ignoring the post-treatment instructions can increase the risk of implant failure.

Late implant infections

Some of the long term complications of implant failure are listed below –

  • Improper placement of the implant can lead to nerve or tissue damage. This can cause numbness or tingle around the tongue, gums, lips, and face
  • Foreign body rejection can happen in some cases leading to increased pain at the site of implant, swelling, fever, and chills
  • Protrusion of the implant into the sinus cavity when placed in the upper jaw. This can increase the risk of cross-infection (3)
  • Traumatic injury to the site of the implant may lead to increased mobility and failure

Whatever the complication may be, it is essential to always take proper care of the prosthesis, be it immediately after the surgery or during the long run. Practice good oral hygiene, avoid hard, chewy food, and switch to a soft diet.

Moreover, add calcium supplements in your diets such as milk, yogurt, broccoli, and cheese. Routine dental check-ups are crucial to keep a check on the success rate of the dental implant.

Factors that contribute to dental implant failure

Several factors contribute to the collapse of the implant. Some of them are listed below –

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  • Gum disease
  • Smoking slows down the healing of the implant
  • Insufficient jaw bone to support the implant
  • Bone loss due to disorders such as osteoporosis (4)
  • Systemic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes
  • Poor dental health care and hygiene
  • Inexperienced dental surgeon

Signs and symptoms of dental implant failure

Some of the typical signs and symptoms of implant infection may include –

  • Swelling around the implant site
  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Gum recession
  • Redness and tenderness of the surrounding gums
  • Increased pain and discomfort
  • Difficulty in chewing (5)
  • Difficulty in opening the mouth
  • Loosening of the implant
  • Bad taste in the mouth
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