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When Dental Implants Fail

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

Once, a man who had a bad tooth extracted had implants explained to him by the dentist. Showing the man a diagram and explaining implant construction, the doctor said, “This implant will still be in your jaw when they bury you.” While that dentist’s description of longevity may have been tongue-in-cheek (pun intended), dental implants are considered a long-term solution, and modern construction materials do allow for a long lifetime of use. However, there are conditions under which dental implants can be compromised or even fail.

Implant Complications: One Patient’s Story

Dentures Plus Lenexa follows established protocols not only to give a patient the very best implant, but to plan ahead for possible complications that may occur years in the future. Let’s hear the story of a patient whom we’ll call Alice (not her real name), and how Dr. Jeremy Knewtson’s knowledge and level of care made her implant case a successful one:

I have an implant with a porcelain crown that has been in place for 16 years. It was trouble-free until last week, when it felt like it was getting loose — almost rocking like a little kid’s loose tooth. At Dentures Plus in Lenexa, Dr. Knewtson confirmed that the tooth was “mobile.” He explained that I have an implant with a screw-retained crown. The solution was so easy! He removed a bit of tooth-colored filling, then a bit of cotton fluff (placed 16 years ago!), removed the loose inner screw, inspected everything and pronounced it undamaged. Hooray! Dr. Knewtson tightened the inner screw and covered it back up, polishing the crown so it feels like new. I was very happy with this easy process. (No needles!) I know that my crown will someday need to be replaced, but now I know how easy it will be.

The professionals at Dentures Plus prefer to use screw-retained crowns rather than cemented (glued) crowns. A screw-retained crown can simplify maintenance, or, in the case of a damaged crown, a new one can be exchanged without disturbing the implant.

Alice’s case was a relatively simple one, with a speedy resolution. After an implant is successfully established, prosthetic tooth maintenance can be easy. However, there are many factors that can affect implant success and facilitate or even be the cause of failure. Symptoms of implant failure may include pain, infection, or mobility of the implant post.

Reasons for Implant Compromise or Failure

A variety of reasons may be responsible when an implant loses integrity or function. These include:

  • Osseointegration failure. If the bond between the titanium rod and surrounding bone tissue is disrupted, an implant will be severely compromised. Multiple factors can cause this, including certain bone diseases (such as osteoporosis), radiation from cancer treatment to the head/neck area, certain medications, autoimmune diseases, or conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.

  • Smoking. Multiple sources report smoking as a possible contributing factor, due to restriction of blood flow to the gums. While being a smoker doesn’t automatically disqualify a patient from receiving implants, it’s a wise idea to quit smoking, for both dental and overall health — at least temporarily, for a period of time preceding and following the implant process.

  • Gum disease. Active gum disease cases are precluded from going through the implant process. But if the infection occurs afterward, it can cause damage to jaw bone and to gums; such infection in the vicinity of the implant can cause it to fail.

  • Poor dental habits. While bad oral hygiene is unlikely to affect the materials that make up your implant, those habits can certainly have detrimental effects on the gum and bone tissues surrounding the implant.

  • Allergic reaction. Sensitivity to titanium is exceedingly rare in humans, but it can happen. If it’s ascertained that a patient has such an allergy, the surgeon can research alternative materials for the anchoring part of the implant.

  • Failure to follow medical instructions. Such a simple cause, and yet a very likely one: human error. Your doctor will give you instructions on what to eat, how to care for your new implant, hygiene habits to adopt, etc. It’s important for the patient to strictly follow the doctor’s post-operative instructions.

  • Age. Even a healthy patient will experience shrinkage and recession (in the jaw and gums) as the years pass. These natural changes can destabilize the tissues surrounding an implant. Regular checkups with your dentist should help in spotting these changes as they occur.

Contact Us Today to Set Up Your Appointment!

Have you been searching for the best place to get dental implants in Lenexa? Well, search no further!

We accept most insurance plans. Our friendly staff is ready to answer any questions and to check your insurance coverage to resolve any issues. To save time on your dental visit, you can conveniently fill out patient paperwork ahead of time by using the links on our website. Because your dental health shouldn’t have to wait, Dentures Plus Lenexa partners with CareCredit to offer our patients financing options. Contact information for financing can be accessed via our website.

Dentures Plus Lenexa looks forward to servicing your dental, denture, and implant needs! Whether you’re a new resident in Johnson County, seeking to get a dental problem fixed, or an existing patient who is experiencing an issue with dentures or implants, we’re here to help. Please stop into our office at 8630 Maurer Road in Lenexa or call us today at 913-227-0466. At Dentures Plus Lenexa, your health comes first – period. For the best dental, denture, and implant service in the Kansas City area, contact us today!

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