Dental implants are the most successful, stable and strong option for tooth replacement we have. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that they have changed dentistry as we know it. The ability to restore a patient’s smile with an implant is nearly equal to replacing a missing natural tooth with another natural tooth. It’s that close to being a perfect match.

Dr. Robert Harrell and his skilled team at Harrell Dental Implant Center in Charlotte are experts in the placement of dental implants and recognized leaders in the field. They offer patients the best results for appearance and long-term success. However, their work can only go so far — the patient must follow their post-surgery care to help ensure the overall success of an implant.

An informed patient is the best patient so let’s take a closer look at some of the post-treatment dental implant issues, causes and warning signs to be aware of:

Failed Osseointegration (Implant is Loose or Fell Out)

Osseointegration describes the formation of a direct functional and structural connection between a person’s bone and an artificial implant. This process takes place over the course of several months after the implant is placed. Failure of an implant is often attributed to the failure of the jawbone to fuse together properly with the implant. An implant is deemed a failure if it is mobile, falls out or shows signs of bone loss of more than 1 mm after the first year and more than 0.2 mm after the second year. Several factors can cause this to happen including incorrect positioning, insufficient bone density or volume, overloading, damage to surrounding tissues, external force/sudden impact, fractured implants or even a reaction to anaesthesia. Several of these causes are described below.

Before an implant can integrate properly into a jawbone, there must be a healthy volume and density of bone present. For patients who lack adequate bone height, width or length, procedures such as a sinus lift or bone graft can help add space and bone mass, but significantly add to both the total treatment time and cost.

It’s interesting to note that the density of bone beneath missing teeth deteriorates over time since it is not being stimulated by the forces of chewing. Patients who have been missing teeth for months or years often require bone grafts before they can get implants. See more at Dental Implant Cost Guide

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Fighting Infection

It is extremely important to follow pre- and post-operative instructions and to listen to your body. If something seems tender or feels strange, it is best to book an appointment with us. We offer extensive follow-up during your healing time; however, if anything arises between appointments, please don’t hesitate to call our office right away. Peri-implantitis, for example, can happen years after you have successfully had your dental implant surgery. It is imperative that clients maintain proper oral hygiene and regular dental checkups to ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles. Read more about peri-implantitis here:

Studies have suggested that one third of patients will be infected. “We’re sitting on a time bomb,” says Dr Stephen Jacobs, a past president of the Association of Dental Implantology and well-respected implant surgeon. “We are going to be seeing more and more cases.”

Peri-implantitis is always preceded by a much milder disease, called peri-implant mucositis, which is common and treatable. Early warning signs are red, swollen gums and bleeding when probed. If undetected and untreated, it might become peri-implantitis.

Because bone loss is painless, many people don’t realise they have the condition. So scrupulous oral hygiene and regular follow-up appointments after an implant are essential, says Dr Jacobs, who runs a Glasgow clinic. Continue reading at The Telegraph

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Planning For a Healthy Recovery Period

It is essential that patients understand how important it is to follow all recommendations throughout the healing process. Something as simple as trying to eat a steak too soon has the potential to lead to implant failure. That’s why Harrell Dental Implant Center patients are given all the information they need for a successful recovery.

Dental implants  take a full 16-17 weeks to fully heal and that is based on a “sigma” of bone…the sigma is the time required for bone to go through a process of remodelling and mineralization. This time frame is constant from person to person, regardless of age or ethnicity.

If there is movement of the implant during the first 8-12 weeks the implant will not become stable because the bone will not grow against the side of the implant. You will get soft tissue ingrowth instead and the resulting implant will be loose and possibly painful.

This is very important for dentists who offer “immediate teeth” or “immediate implants”. In some cases we can place a tooth immediately onto an implant but we have to take steps to ensure that the forces and function on that implant are minimal. That could mean making the tooth shorter so that the food does not press on the tooth, eating a soft or  liquid diet for ~2-3 months and/or splinting the tooth to other implants or natural teeth. More details from Vancouver Centre for Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry

Harrell Dental Implant Center is the Charlotte area leader for dental implant procedures of all varieties. Book your free consultation with us today to learn more. Call 704-206-1330 or use the contact form on this page to make your appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.