DENTAL IMPLANT FAILURE
Dental implants are a new and highly specialized area of dentistry. Many dentists who practice implant dentistry feel that it should be recognized as a specialty, much as pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, or oral surgery. But it isn’t, at least not yet. Consequently, dentists with no more training than what they received in their undergraduate curriculum in dental school can place and restore dental implants.
As a result, we are seeing too much dental implant failure. And because of the nature of this treatment, the failure often isn’t evident until a number of years after the initial treatment. Let’s examine some of the causes and how you can avoid these dental implant problems.
CAUSES OF DENTAL IMPLANT FAILURE
Here are some of the things that can go wrong with teeth implants:
Improper Placement of Dental Implants
Some dentists try to shortcut diagnostic procedures. Rather than taking the trouble to get a three-dimensional scan, they may try to place the root fixtures only guided by panographic x-rays. As a result, we are seeing dental implants placed in sinuses, nerve canals, and lingual bone concavities. This can result in infection, numbness from nerve impairment, or loosening of fixtures under function.
Here at our cosmetic dentist office, we have a highly sophisticated three-dimensional radiographic system, the Galileos 3D digital radiography system. We have one of only a handful of these units in the state. Not only does it give us a three-dimensional view of all the relevant anatomical structures, but it is also quick, convenient, and delivers a minimum amount of radiation.
Loose Dental Implants
There are two parts to a tooth implant. The root form fixture is placed in the bone. After being placed, bone grows around this root form, fuses to it, and firmly stabilizes it so that it can support a tooth or teeth. This process is called osseointegration. However, if the tooth crown is placed before the bone has adequate time to heal, the fixture can become loose and fail.
If the root forms are placed in incorrect positions, they can be subject to too much stress, which will also result in loosening. Some dental offices try to shortcut the process.
The reason many patients need dental implants is that they lose their teeth to periodontal disease. Some patients are attracted by the idea of saving time by placing the root form into the fresh extraction socket, right after the removal of diseased teeth. But this increases the risk of infection, because the tooth socket is heavily populated with pathogenic bacteria.
Other causes of infection are loose or poorly fitting implant fixtures. If the fit isn’t precise, the fixtures can leave spaces for bacterial infiltration. Some dentists try to save on their costs by using cheaper root forms. But, while brand name fixtures can cost hundreds of dollars more per fixture, they are manufactured to precise tolerances so that they fit perfectly and avoid this problem.
AVOIDING DENTAL IMPLANT FAILURE
To keep this from happening to you, don’t price shop for the lowest price on implant dentistry. You don’t need to necessarily go to the most expensive dentist, but if you go to the cheapest, you are taking a great risk. There are so many opportunities for shortcuts in this field, and that is what you encourage when you price shop.
Dr. Rota has advanced training in dental implant surgery and restoration. He has earned Diplomate status with the International Dental Implant Association. If you are interested in dental implants and would like more information click here or call us to schedule a consultation today!