Is your dental implant starting to feel a little wobbly? Does it move, even just a bit, when you chew or talk? If so, your implant may have failed to heal correctly. Although dental implant failure is rare, it can occur. Removing a failed implant is usually the best way to preserve a person’s oral health. If your dental implant has indeed failed, here is what you can expect during the removal process.
What Causes Implant Failure?
Dental implants can fail for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common factors that contribute to dental implant failure in downtown Los Angeles include:
Poor oral hygiene – Infections such as gum disease or perio-implantitis can develop around an implant if you do not brush and floss regularly.
Weak jawbone – Dental implants stay in place by integrating with the surrounding bone. Implants placed in a thin or weak area of the jawbone are more likely to fail.
Smoking tobacco – As many as 1 in 5 smokers experience dental implant failure, according to scientific studies.
Medical conditions – Osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, and other conditions that may interfere with the body’s ability to heal can prevent successful osseointegration.
How Does the Implant Removal Process Work?
When removing a failed dental implant, your dentist will aim to preserve as much healthy bone as possible. One common method for implant removal involves a special tool called a trough bur. Your dentist may use this tool to cut a tiny portion of the bone along the edge of the implant. Once the implant has been slightly separated from the surrounding bone, your dentist can gradually loosen and remove it.
The good news is that removing a failed dental implant is typically a pain-free procedure! Your dentist will likely administer local anesthetic or dental sedation to make sure you are comfortable throughout the surgery.
Can You Get a New Implant Right Away?
Your dentist may be able to place a new implant immediately after removing the old one. However, you must have enough bone intact around the implant site and be free from gum disease and other oral infections. In most cases, patients who experience implant failure must wait a few months after removal before they can receive a new implant. If you suffer from bone loss, your dentist may recommend a bone graft procedure to strengthen the area of the jaw where your new implant will go.
Implant Removal Aftercare
You may experience some slight swelling or soreness in your mouth after removing a failed implant. This is completely normal and should go away in a day or so. You can take prescription or over-the-counter pain medication (as directed by your dentist) to manage any initial discomfort. If an oral infection caused your implant to fail, your dentist will likely prescribe antibiotics for you to take.
You should also stick to a soft-food diet for the first few days after surgery and follow any personalized instructions from your dentist.
Dental implant failure does not mean you will have to live with missing teeth forever! By partnering with an experienced implant dentist, you can reclaim your complete smile.
About the Author
Dr. Adam Geach is a board-certified prosthodontist in downtown Los Angeles who provides one-on-one patient care. He regularly performs complex full-mouth reconstructions and start-to-finish implant treatment. To learn more about removing a failed implant, visit the Geach Dental website or call 213-810-3368.