Dental implants are considered to be the strongest and most reliable replacement for missing teeth. Dental implants consist of a titanium screw that is placed in the jawbone; later, they are attached to an abutment that protrudes above the gum line and a dental restoration that replaces the crown of the tooth.
The success of dental implant treatment relies upon osseointegration, the process of the implant and jawbone tissues fusing together. The majority of dental implant treatments are a success. In the rare cases that dental implants fail, it is often the result of patient non-compliance with post-surgical instructions.
Here, Drs. Alex and Jason Hecht recommend that our Staten Island, NY patients avoid these top causes of dental implant failure.
Poor Oral Hygiene
When a dental implant has been placed, the treatment area will be tender and sensitive, so patients may be reluctant to clean that part of the mouth. However, good oral hygiene habits are vital to dental implant success.
Our Staten Island patients should rinse their mouth with an antibacterial rinse in the days following dental implant treatment, and they should resume brushing and flossing as soon as directed.
Good oral hygiene habits are necessary to prevent bacterial buildup so that an infection does not develop. If an infection develops soon after an implant has been placed, it can prevent osseointegration from occurring, which will result in implant failure. Even if an infection develops after an implant has fused with the jawbone, it can damage gum and jaw tissues, and cause an implant to become loose and ultimately fail.
Certain Illnesses or Medication
There are certain illnesses, such as diabetes and some autoimmune disorders, that can interfere with healing and prevent osseointegration. Similarly, there are some medications that can increase the risk of dental implant failure.
It is important that patients be honest with our doctors when discussing their health and medical history. In some cases, dental implant treatment may still be a viable option.
For instance, diabetic patients who are able to keep their blood sugar levels under control may still be good implant candidates. However, if illness or medication makes dental implant failure likely, it is best to consider an alternate restorative dentistry treatment.
We advise our Staten Island patients to refrain from smoking because of the many health complications linked to this habit, but it is especially important to avoid smoking after dental implant treatment. Smoking slows down the healing process and increases the risk of infection, both of which make dental implant failure more likely.
To minimize the risk of dental implant failure, patients should stay away from cigarettes as long as possible both prior to and following surgery. Dr. Hecht understands that this will be difficult for smokers, but at the very least patients should avoid smoking for two weeks before and after surgery.
Trauma or excessive force are other factors that can interfere with dental implant success. Trauma could come from a blow to the face, but it can also come from more subtle and consistent pressure, such as that linked to bruxism. Bruxism is the habit of grinding or clenching the teeth.
Grinding or clenching often occurs at night, so patient may not be aware of the habit. However, there should be other signs of wear and tear on the teeth. If patients suffer from bruxism, they can look into getting a mouth guard to prevent grinding and clenching that could lead to dental implant failure.
Dental implants offer a strong, secure, and durable replacement for missing teeth. If you would like to learn more about the dental implant process, or whether you are an ideal candidate for treatment, contact us at your earliest convenience or call (718) 705-4434 to schedule an appointment.