Dental implants can be a great way of replacing teeth for a variety of reasons: they're stronger than natural teeth, they don't decay, so you won't get cavities, and they're durable. While there are a lot of strengths to having dental implants, there are a variety of things that can cause them to fail. They're an expensive procedure to have done, and while they're strong and durable when done successfully, they also require some care to ensure they won't fail you and end up costing you even more time and money to repair in the future.
1. Practice Good Oral Hygiene
While dental implants themselves are immune to decay, they still require basic oral hygiene daily. This means brushing at least twice a day, preferably using products that contain fluoride (such as toothpaste or a rinse) to prevent any potential decay in your natural teeth, and flossing.
If your oral hygiene is poor, bacteria can build up on your dental implant and result in mucositis, which is the inflamed membrane that surrounds your implant. Left untreated, it can turn into a dangerous condition called peri-implantitis, which can cause your implant to fall out. Your dental implants will only last as long as you're able to take care of them properly, so be sure to practice proper oral hygiene to keep any infections at bay.
2. Regular Dental Checkups
Whether you have dental implants or not, you should be visiting your dentist at least twice a year (or more, if needed). However, if you have dental implants, it's important that you make sure to see your dentist every year for checkups. This is vital in making sure your dental implants are in good condition and won't end up failing on you, and any potential implant issues can be addressed by your dentist before they get worse.
If you become aware of any problems with your dental implants (such as bleeding or pain), you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible, as these can be indicative of larger problems.
3. Quit Smoking
It's no secret smoking does a number on your health, but what you may not realize is that it also increases the risk of infection and your dental implants failing. Quitting smoking after you've had your dental implants done is extremely important, especially since infection is the most common reason they end up failing. Studies have also shown that dental implants are more likely to fail in smokers than those who don't smoke.
The first few months following your procedure are crucial for ensuring you heal properly and without any infections. Along with increasing your risk of infection, some other problems smoking can cause for dental implants include:
- Inflammation: The smoke can irritate the tissues inside your mouth, causing it to become inflamed. If the tissue around your teeth becomes inflamed, it leads to peri-implantitis, which can result in implant failure and your implant falling out.
- Bacterial growth: Smoking can increase the harmful types of bacteria that result in gum disease or tooth decay.
- Weak bones: Smoking can weaken your bones, particularly your jawbone. As dental implants attach to the jawbone, a weakened jawbone can make it difficult for the implant to bond successfully to your bone.
4. Make Sure All Health Issues Are Covered
Make sure you and your dentist address any and all health issues you may have prior to having your dental implants done, particularly if they're conditions that weaken your bones. By ensuring your dentist has full knowledge of your medical history, you decrease the potential for your implants to fail. Discussing your medical history thoroughly can also ensure your dentist, like Dale D. Lentz DDS, can take appropriate action necessary should any problems arise in the process.