So you’ve gotten through your dental implant surgery and are on the road to recovery. What happens if your implant doesn’t feel right in your mouth, or if you start to feel pain or see swelling in your gums? These are all signs that your dental implant may be failing. Although the situation is disheartening, it is not the end of the world. There are courses of actions so that you can remedy the situation.
Dental implants mimic your natural teeth. They are placed in your jaw bone like a screw, and bond with the bone. They serve as a foundation for crowns – the tooth-part of an artificial tooth. To put it simply, the crown is the white part of the tooth, and the implant is what keeps it in your mouth.
If you have started to experience some of the symptoms listed below, don’t fret. The bad news is that implants fail from time to time. The good news is that there is something you can do about it.
Symptoms of a failing dental implant
- Pain: You should feel pain during the healing process after dental implant surgery, but there is such a thing as too much of it. If the pain is affecting your entire mouth or jaw, or if it’s especially sharp, your dental implant may be failing. Especially take note if the pain seems to be increasing, not decreasing. If this is the case, call your dentist.
- Gum swelling: Again, this is expected after surgery. Your gums will swell after you’ve had your dental implants placed, but they shouldn’t stay swollen for a long period. Also, the swelling shouldn’t spread to your unaffected gums. If you find that the swelling is in fact increasing, call your dentist immediately.
- Trouble chewing: Implants are supposed to be just like your own teeth. Not only do they look like your own teeth, they should chew like natural teeth as well. If you’re feeling pain or any other discomfort when you’re eating, something may be off with your implant. Pain while chewing may indicate a cavity in a natural tooth; it can also indicate that your implant is failing.
- Unsecured implants: Your implants should feel natural, like your own teeth. In fact, if done well, you shouldn’t be able to tell the difference between them. If your implants feel very conspicuous in your mouth or they move around, you should immediately contact your dentist.
Causes behind dental implant failure
Dental implant failure is rare and, most of the time, a result of a few factors. Here are four common causes:
- Early rejection: Some patients are hyper-sensitive, and their bodies may reject foreign objects like steel rods or dental implants. Additionally, some patients are allergic to certain materials. Your body may reject a dental implant before the bone has healed and you will notice some of the previously listed symptoms.
- Late rejection: In late rejection, the bone has already healed from surgery when some of those symptoms appear. It may be due to poor dental hygiene or post-op trauma. The result is the same, you will suffer from pain, swelling, and discomfort.
- Older implants: If your implant is more than 10 years old and you’ve noticed some of the symptoms associated with dental implant failure, it may be worn out. Medical technology changes quickly, and the materials and processes from 10 years ago may not be holding up.
- Poor dental hygiene: Although implants aren’t susceptible to decay, they are susceptible to infection, and infection can cause implant failure. Excellent dental hygiene including regular check-ups with your dentist is required for maintaining your implants.
Solutions for dental implant failure
The best way to keep your dental implants healthy is to adopt an excellent dental health regimen. Brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly. Even better than a sterling dental routine is picking a knowledgeable and competent dentist, like those at Stan Kimball, D.D.S., who provide comprehensive and personalized services.
If you are suddenly feeling more pain or swelling, or experience discomfort or movement in your bite, you want to call an expert right away. Toothaches are no fun, and the sooner you call, the closer you are to a pain-free mouth.