The field of dentistry is constantly being brought forward by brilliant minds looking to improve their practice and the lives of their patients. Innovative technologies have altered the way bone scans are performed, and they’ve increased implant accuracy exponentially. While dental implants have come a long way since their earliest forms, there are still those few people whose implants become damaged and need to be replaced over time. That’s right. Even these innovative technologies aren’t indestructible. While there might be a few cases where an unskilled oral surgeon is responsible for the failure of a dental implant, often, a dental implant will fail because of pre-existing health conditions or poor oral hygiene on the part of the patient. In this blog post, we thought we could take some time to talk about dental implant damage—how to identify it and what to do—as well as dental implant restoration and what that looks like for the patient.

Dental Implants Then and Now

Throughout human history, evidence shows that different civilizations saw the benefit of dental implants. Granted, those seashell implants from 600 A.D. might not have been as effective as modern-day implants, but that goes without saying! Over time, humans have recognized the downsides of missing teeth. It wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century, however, that dental implantology saw its great leap forward. In 1952, the orthopedic surgeon Per-Ingvar Brånemark inadvertently discovered upon the process of osseointegration––the course of implants fusing to human bones. Once it was discovered that bones could fuse to metals, then began three decades of research, trials, and errors. Fast forward today to a time when over 500,000 dental implants are surgically placed each year in America alone. Dental implants are indistinguishable from real teeth, and some individuals may even have multiple implants. Thanks to computer-guided surgery, 3D X-rays and sophisticated bone scanners, the process by which they’re placed is significantly less invasive, more precise, and less time-consuming. Dental implants are available to whoever needs them—especially in Dr. Caudry’s facilities.

Why Do People Get Dental Implants?

Tooth loss is a problem many people face at one point in their lives or another. Whether it is from the non-restorable decay of a cavity, a failed root canal, or gum disease, the loss of a tooth can have dramatic effects on a person’s life. The negative impacts of tooth loss aren’t just cosmetic, either. Other than the sight of a decaying tooth—or the sight of the gap from a missing tooth—being a source of embarrassment for some, a missing tooth can lead to many dental problems. The extra space can cause the rest of your teeth to shift, and general discomfort can persist for years. What’s more, the gum tissue where one’s tooth used to be will weaken. Once that tissue weakens, and jawbone volume disappears, restoration is extremely difficult.

How Great is Modern-Day Dental Implants?

According to the Journal of Dental Implantology, success rates for dental implants are incredibly high—roughly 96%. But that statistic only considers those who have no pre-existing oral health conditions, practice proper aftercare, and allow for the implant to heal before treating it like a regular tooth. That said, to say they’re an overwhelming success for most patients is no exaggeration. Day after day, dental implants improve the lives of people near and far. Most people will say that their dental implant has dramatically altered their self-esteem for the better.

Dental Implant Failure: What Are the Causes?

Dental implant failure can occur for a variety of reasons on several different levels. Short-term dental implant failure often occurs when the implant fails to heal in the bone. An implant may not heal in the bone because of a patient’s low bone density, uncontrolled diabetes, or because they’re an active smoker. Poor oral hygiene and untreated gum disease can also put dental implants at risk of failure, too. As for long-term implant problems, they are similar to the issues that might arise with a real tooth over time. After the implant has healed, the gum area that supports the implant can become infected as a result of poor oral care.

When Will I Know It Is Time to Restore or Replace My Tooth Implant?

Symptoms of implant failure include, but are not limited to:
  • Redness and swelling around the implant
  • Discomfort around the implant site
  • Bad smell or taste in the mouth
  • Gum recession surrounding the implant
  • Discoloration of gums at the implant site
  • Difficulty and discomfort cleaning the implant
These symptoms might even seem familiar to those who have their natural teeth, which should tell you something about dental implants. They’re not immune to infection or decay just because they’re artificial! You should expect to give your dental implants the same care you give your real teeth.

Dr. Caudry’s Dental Implant Rescue

The infections that can spring from gum disease, known as Peri-Implantitis, can be devastating to an individual’s health. Peri-implantitis is what we call the loss of bone around an implant due to the aggressive infection that springs from neglect or any number of health conditions. Thankfully, with early intervention, your implant can be saved and restored to its former glory. We reverse the bone loss that comes as a result of Peri-implantitis through disinfecting the area and re-preparing the surface of the implant via bone regeneration.

How to Avoid Issues with Your Tooth Implant

As you might have guessed, a dental implant needs to be maintained and cleaned regularly like a real tooth. We offer a variety of treatments to ensure optimal oral hygiene, such as antibacterial irrigation as part of our maintenance program. Otherwise, we also recommend:
    • Cleaning at least twice a day with an electric or soft-bristle toothbrush
    • Using low-abrasive toothpaste