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Dental implants are a constantly advancing technology. These implants are nearly impossible to distinguish from real teeth, and can be brushed and bitten with just like your natural teeth. However, since they are, in fact, implants and not natural parts of your bone, dental implants do sometimes fail. In order to make the best decision possible about how to care for your dental implants and if you should get them, you need to understand exactly what kinds of things can go wrong with your implants.
Dental implants are artificial teeth that are rooted in your jawbone via a surgical procedure. When all goes well, these teeth will function exactly like your other teeth for the remainder of your life. However, problems can arise if your bones do not react well to the root or if the tooth becomes "mobile," meaning that it is not securely set in the jaw.
Failed dental implants have fairly standard symptoms regardless of the reason for their failure. They may be painful and feel loose in your mouth, or they may feel warm as if the implant itself is hotter than the rest of your jaw. All of these symptoms should be investigated immediately to prevent severe infection and even decay.
When dental implants fail, the symptoms can indicate a variety of problems. Heat in the jaw, a hot feeling that will not go away around the site of the implant, generally indicates infection. Loose implants that wiggle or remain sore after the healing process should have been completed generally are not securely set in the bone. Also, some substances that are used for dental implants like porcelain can cause problems for some people because they are very hard and do not absorb shock well. This can make the entire mouth painful while you are chewing depending on how you chew and how sensitive your other teeth are.
Failed dental implants cause pain and discomfort. If they are not attended to immediately, then they can cause serious infections that actually eat away at your jawbone. Poorly placed or made implants can actually shatter part of your bone if they are not repaired or replaced as soon as you notice a problem.
If you have failed dental implants, then you have several options. You can have the entire unit replaced. If the implant is at all loose in your jaw, then this is the most common response. Sometimes, additional screws can be added to shore up the bone around the implant, or bone grafts can help fortify the bones around the implant. The best way to avoid dental implant failure, however, is to be sure that your jaw is healthy enough to sustain the implant before you undergo the surgery. If you or your dentist have any doubts, then you should investigate other options.
If you suspect that your dental implants are failing or infected, you must contact your dentist and your oral surgeon immediately. These failures become rapidly and progressively worse if they are not attended to, and can result in serious bone loss and the destruction of additional teeth. If you are a smoker, the odds of dental implant success decrease dramatically.
Dental implants can be early failures or late ones. They tend to fail for the same reasons, but early failures do not "take" ever and do not seem to heal after the surgery. Late failures may be fine for months or years, but break down over time. Regardless of how long it has been since your dental implant surgery, consult a doctor at the first sign of trouble.