Dental implants are an investment in a healthy smile. Many people prefer implants over dentures since they look more natural, are permanent, and they require similar care to natural teeth. Whether you only have one implant or an entire set, you do need to know how to prevent implant failure, though. This is when the jawbone and gums don't integrate properly with the implant post, causing the implant to loosen and eventually come out. The following tips can help you avoid failure.
Tip #1: Don't try to bypass preparation surgeries
Not everyone has an implant-ready mouth, so don't try to rush the process. If you have already suffered major bone or gum loss, you will need to have grafting surgery first. This is where your oral surgeon grafts bone or gum tissue into your mouth. Once you have fully healed from this procedure you can consider the implants. Failure to do so means you may not have sufficient bone or gum for the implant to hold for the long term.
Tip #2: Avoid anything that could cause trauma following surgery
Implants need time to integrate properly into the mouth. Taking a hit to the implant is a surefire way to cause bone damage that won't allow this integration to take place properly. Avoid playing high-impact sports or participating in high-impact activities for the first few months to a year after implantation. Wait for your dentist to give you the all-clear before resuming the activity.
Tip #3: Stay away from anything that could cause infection
Peri-implantitis is an infection of the implant site, which can cause the implant to fail. Certain behaviors and conditions can increase your chances of developing peri-implantitis. Smoking and failure to brush and floss daily are major culprits of this problem. It is also more common in diabetics, especially those that aren't maintaining their blood sugar properly.
Tip #4: Don't miss any cleanings
While it is very important to brush and floss twice daily, you will also need to keep up with your regular dental hygiene visits as well. Implants aren't immune to plaque buildup. While the plaque won't lead to cavities, it can cause gum inflammation and gum loss. It's the gum loss that leads to loose implants and implant failure. Most people have their teeth cleaned once or twice yearly, but your dentist may advise more frequent cleanings if you already have signs of gum disease or if you tend to build up plaque quickly.
Talk to your implant dentist for more advice.