The failure of a dental implant is usually related to the failure of the bone to grow around the implant and, in addition, can also be classified as failure if the implant becomes mobile or shows signs of bone loss in the gum tissue.
To best assess your own situation, it is important to first be aware of the four most common types of dental implant failure.
1) Infection – If fixtures are poorly fitted or improper techniques are used, it won’t be a surprise that persistent infection will be the result of implant failure.
2) Loose Implants – Implants become loose if
a. substandard fixtures are used,
b. the implants are used or have pressure before they are ready
c. If they are placed in bone that is not solid enough.
3) Nerve Impairment – If three-dimensional x-rays are not used, it is easy for your dentist to make a mistake and place fixtures in positions that impinge on nerves or run through the jaw in places where implants shouldn’t. This type of nerve impairment can then result in persistent numbness, tingling, or uncomfortable pain.
4) Puncture of other body cavities – It has also been discovered that implants can also affect sinuses in other body cavities such as the nose and throat. If this is the case for you, you could be experiencing signs of implant failure and should see your dentist as soon as possible.
And finally, it is also important to be well-informed on the causes of these types of dental implant failure. There are many reasons as to why some failures occur despite the best efforts of the dentist and patient,
so here are a few simple explanations to help understand why.
- Shortcutting the diagnostic process: Some dentists will try to shortcut the diagnosis process by using two-dimensional panoramic x-rays. Already, this is a problem because it does not provide the full and necessary three-dimensional view of every nerve and blood vessel or quality of the bone available. While two-dimensional panoramic x-rays are adequate for many dental procedures, they simply do not provide enough information concerning the different angles provided by a 3-Dimentional CT scan to properly assess the (1) actual amount and quality of strong enough bone to support an implant and (2) cross-sections of the jaw showing the exact locations of blood vessels, nerves, quality, and even thickness of the bone available.
- Insufficient medical history: There are many medical conditions that can affect the success of dental implants. It is imperative to have a complete and thorough history of any medications, illnesses, or operations that could contribute to affecting a proper diagnosis.
- Insufficient dental implant fixtures: Some dentists are attracted to the companies that have cut costs on research and provide cheaper dental implant fixtures instead of investing in the carefully manufactured, hand-engineered, and fully-tested fixtures that are well worth the price they cost. If your dentist gives in to these powerful temptations and decides to take this shortcut, it could cause even more problems for the patient in the future than intended, which leaves the patient unsatisfied and most likely in a worse condition than before.
- Incorrect dental implant placement: The incorrect placements of dental implants in the first place are usually tied with an inadequate initial diagnosis. If you feel you fall into any of the categories above or if you have concerns about signs of infection or bone loss, please do not hesitate to call our office. We will be more than happy to help you address those worries and put them to rest.
Can the Metal Used for Implants Cause Allergic Reactions?
The dominant element in the dental implants is commercially pure titanium which is generally available in four grades which depend on the amount of iron and carbon included in the alloy, although some alloys also contain a small amount of aluminum and vanadium. However titanium is much more resistant to corrosion than aluminum and vanadium, which is important in the mouth. Titanium is also used because it is extremely bio-compatible with living tissue and is completely inert to all human body fluids, and in fact this bio-compatibility is so great that it actually stimulates bone growth which makes this element ideal for dental implants. This also means that patients are extremely unlikely to suffer an allergic reaction.
Determining sensitivity to titanium
MELISA® tests are used to determine hypersensitivity to metals, and it’s been estimated that one in 30 people are hypersensitive to one or more of the metals used in implants although there is only a 0.6% chance of a patient suffering an allergy to titanium in a dental implant. The test enables dentists to see if patients are affected, and if so which metals are causing the reactions.
The most likely reason for a reaction to titanium is through the implant corroding, and this should only happen if poor quality materials are used which increase the chances of titanium particles being released into the body where they can bind to proteins. The body attacks this structure in people who are sensitive to titanium as it regards it as being a foreign body and this can lead to symptoms including rashes and muscle aches. Sensitivity can also cause chronic fatigue syndrome, general pain, swelling and an inability to heal properly.
Another possibility is that patients could be allergic to other metals involved in the implant process, and this can even include the drills and tools used during the surgical placement of the implant. Studies have shown that patients can be allergic to chromium, cobalt, molybdenum, nickel and vanadium which are all used in implants. However it’s important to remember that the likelihood of having an allergic reaction to an implant is incredibly rare, and in fact there is far more chance of failure occurring due to other reasons. Anyone with an allergy to nickel may want to have a MELISA® test just to confirm they do not have an allergy to titanium