How do you know if your dental implant is failing?

Having a toothache is no laughing matter because when your tooth hurts, it really hurts to laugh.

A dental implant mimics your natural tooth and is secured into your jaw bone like a screw. When dental implants are placed, they bond with your own bone and serve as a foundation for one or multiple artificial teeth, called crowns.

When you’ve had a dental implant, you may think that you’ve solved your dental health problem and can be on your way. Sometimes this is the case, but sometimes it’s not. The bad news is that implants fail from time to time. The good news is that there is something you can do about it.

How do you know your implant is failing?

  • Pain: Although pain is associated with the healing process of a dental implant, there is such a thing as too much pain. If the pain you’re feeling radiates throughout your mouth or jaw, or is especially sharp, your dental implant may be failing. If the pain is increasing, not decreasing, you should call your dentist.
  • Gum swelling: Again, this is expected after dental surgery. Your gums will swell, but they shouldn’t stay swollen, and it shouldn’t spread. Redness indicates infection, and infection can spread throughout your mouth and eventually into your blood, which is very serious. If you find that the pain or swelling in your mouth is not lessening, but in fact increasing, call your dentist immediately.
  • Trouble chewing: An implant is supposed to be just like your tooth, so if you’re feeling pain or any other discomfort when you’re eating or chewing something, it’s a sign that something’s off with your implant. Just as pain while chewing can indicate a cavity in a natural tooth, pain while chewing can indicate that an implant is failing.
  • Unsecured implants: Your implants should feel as natural in your mouth as your own teeth. In fact you shouldn’t be able to tell the difference, if done well. If your implants feel very conspicuous in your mouth or they wiggle and move around at all, you should immediately contact your dentist.

What is causing the failure?

Dental implant failure is relatively rare and, most of the time, a combination of a few different factors. There are four common causes:

  • Early rejection: Some patients are very sensitive to foreign objects in their bodies like steel rods or dental implants. Additionally, some patients are allergic to certain materials, like metal. Your body can reject an implant before the bone has a chance to heal and, if you dental implant doe, you will start to suffer from the symptoms listed above.
  • Late rejection: This is similar to early rejection but with one key difference – in late rejection, the bone has already healed from the surgery. A late rejection of an implant can be due to poor dental hygiene or post-op trauma, but the result is the same. You teeth will increasingly feel poorly.
  • Older implants: If you think your dental implant is failing and you had it implanted more than ten years ago, it may be worn out. Dental technology moves quickly, and the materials and processes that dentists used ten years ago may not be holding up under the wear and tear of time.
  • Poor dental hygiene: Implants are not susceptible to decay as they are not natural teeth. However, they are still susceptible to infection, which can cause implant failure. Excellent dental hygiene including brushing, flossing, and regular check-ups is paramount for keeping your implants in tip-top shape.

What can you do about it?

As stated before, the best way to maintain dental implants is by maintaining an excellent dental health regimen. Consider investing in an electric toothbrush since these mimic dentists’ tools closely. Even better than a sterling dental routine is picking a knowledgeable and competent dentist, like the ones at Pasadena Periodontics & Dental Implants.

If you’ve recently (or not so recently) had dental implant surgery and are suddenly feeling an increase in pain or swelling, or discomfort or movement in your bite, you want to call an expert. No one likes a toothache, and the sooner you call, the sooner a professional can help you to a pain-free mouth.

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