Dental implants are used to replace teeth that are missing. They are surgically inserted into the jawbone of the patient, so implants are considered permanent. Still, if a dental implant does not heal properly, it can fail.
Proper healing of an implant includes osseointegration, which ensures that the implant becomes stabilized in its socket. During osseointegration, the dental implant and the jawbone of the patient fuse together. This process takes several months to complete. However, after healing, an abutment and crown can be placed, and the implant can support bite pressure.
Here are a few reasons that a dental implant could fail to heal properly:
Implant patients who smoke increase their risk of implant problems due to the side effects of tobacco smoke. Here are a few complications associated with smoking:
- Delayed healing at implantation site due to poor circulation and poor oxygen levels.
- Irritation and inflammation of supporting gums and connective tissue.
- Increased risk of infection.
- Increased risk of periodontal disease, which could affect the gums and bone.
- Increased risk of dry mouth, which can encourage bacterial growth.
What can you do to avoid complications from smoking?
It is important that you refrain from smoking during the weeks prior to your implant surgery, as well as during the healing period after the installation of your implant. Try to replace smoking with healthier habits, such as chewing gum sweetened with xylitol. The xylitol helps kill oral bacteria, and chewing gum promotes saliva production.
Excess Alcohol Consumption
Drinking copious amounts of alcohol can also have a negative impact on the healing of your implant. Here are a few possible issues that may arise:
- Interactions between alcohol and pain medications, some of which could result in an overdose.
- Interactions between alcohol and antibiotics that could render the antibiotics ineffective.
- Increased irritation and inflammation of the soft tissues of the mouth.
What can you do to avoid complications from alcohol use?
Don't drink alcohol near the time of your surgery or during your recovery period. Ask your dentist about potential drug interactions.
Uncontrolled Blood Sugar
People who have diabetes can have a successful dental implant. However, it is important for them to keep their blood sugar within an acceptable range. Uncontrolled blood sugar is related to the following implant issues:
- Reduced rate of wound healing
- Increased incidence of periodontal disease
- Greater susceptibility to infection
What can you do to avoid complications from uncontrolled blood sugar?
If you are diabetic, take your medication and follow your physician's directions concerning diet and exercise.
If you are considering a dental implant and have questions about the procedure, contact a dentist in your area to schedule a consultation.