No solution to tooth loss comes with nearly as many benefits as dental implants. Once these titanium posts are placed into your jawbone, they mimic the roots of your lost teeth, forming a sturdy bond that can last for decades. Because of this strong foundation, dental implants boast a success rate of more than 95%. However, there are still a few reasons why implants can ultimately fail. If you’re getting dental implant surgery soon, here are five factors to discuss with your dentist that could contribute to dental implant failure.
1. Gum Disease
You need healthy gums to support a dental implant. Gum disease, the most common reason for implant failure, is a bacterial infection that can weaken gum tissue and even the jawbone. Before placing implants, your dentist should evaluate your gums to see if you need gum disease treatment before undergoing implant surgery.
2. Tobacco Use
Whether you chew it or smoke it, tobacco slows down the oral healing process by restricting blood flow to the gums. This hinders osseointegration, the process by which the implants fuse to your jawbone. In fact, research shows that smokers can have a dental implant failure rate of up to 20%. It’s recommended that people who currently smoke should kick the habit before receiving dental implants.
3. Low Jawbone Density
Losing even one tooth causes your jawbone to shrink because of the lack of stimulation from the tooth roots. This can leave the jawbone unable to support the implants you need to restore your smile. In many cases, though, your dentist may be able to strengthen the bone with a bone grafting procedure.
4. Certain Medical Conditions
Autoimmune disorders like type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can cause the body to heal more slowly, which may prevent successful osseointegration. Additionally, some medications, such as antidepressants or heartburn medications, can increase the risk of implant failure. For this reason, you should tell your dentist about all medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, that you take.
5. Poor Oral Hygiene
If you’re unable or unwilling to brush and floss around your dental implants every day, you might not be a good candidate for the treatment. Poor oral hygiene can result in plaque building up around the implant and causing it to fail.
Just because you meet one or more of the criteria in this post doesn’t necessarily mean you can never get dental implants. You may simply have to undergo other treatments beforehand, like bone grafting. Since every case is different, there’s only one way to know for sure whether you’re eligible for implants, and that’s to schedule a consultation with your dentist.
About the Author
Dr. Stephen Remmers is a 1989 graduate of the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. As a member of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, he has the necessary training and skills to place dental implants in his own practice in Louisville, KY. If you’d like to learn whether you’re a good candidate for dental implants, contact Dr. Steve at (502) 499-0234.