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Dealing With and Preventing Implant Failure

Implant Failure
As a periodontist, I perform surgical implant procedures on a regular basis, and I have placed over 3,000 implants during my career with an overwhelming success rate. However, sometimes patients come to me who have previously received implants, the implant has failed, and the implant now requires removal surgery and replacement. Removal and replacement due to failure is not only frustrating for the patient, but it is also expensive and time-consuming. Fortunately, there are a number of steps a patient can take to help ensure the first implant he or she receives remains healthy and secure for years to come.

Implant failure derives from a multifactorial process. First, the type of implant being used affects the longevity of the implant. The surface type and material of the implant is important because the bone needs to be able to grow onto and integrate around the implant. Unfortunately, some implant companies attempt to sell cheaper implants, without conducting evidence-based testing or publishing data establishing the supposed quality of the implants they manufacture. Before receiving an implant, some crucial questions to ask your dental professional are: (1) what type of implant is being placed, (2) from what company was the implant purchased, and (3) what data does that company offer to attest to the quality of the implant?

Another factor impacting the success of your implant is the experience of the clinician who will place your implant. Therefore, it is paramount to find out the experience and success rate of the practitioner you are considering. Periodontists and oral surgeons possess a large amount of requisite training in implant placement. They are familiar with bone physiology and biomaterials that ensure implant success, and this knowledge comes from receiving training through an accredited program.

For example, after college and then four years in dental school, Dr. Singletary took the extra step in completing a four-year residency in periodontology to be able to practice as a knowledgeable and capable periodontist. After that, Dr. Singletary took his training in his periodontal specialty even further by spending five rigorous years earning his diplomate status, which is optional to practitioners but recommended for any practitioner wishing to achieve as much expertise in his field as possible. After these numerous years of training, Dr. Singletary is happy that his patients enjoy the highest success rates in implant procedures that he can offer.

Unfortunately, for individuals with historic periodontal disease, tooth loss may be inevitable. However, a periodontist is perfectly positioned to treat the gum disease, fortify the area where the implant will be placed, and oversee the vitality of the surrounding bone and gum tissue to ensure a healthy, predictable surgical outcome.

Lastly, the patients themselves possess a large amount of power to control the health of their implants. Factors such as consistent at-home oral maintenance along with periodic office checkups, refraining from smoking, and avoiding clenching and grinding all increase the probability of a successful implant.

As my patients can attest, ensuring that the implants I place for them remain in prime condition is of utmost importance to me. But too often I see new patients whose implants have failed due to factors like poor implant quality, clinician inexperience, and/or inadequate at-home care. Fortunately, as this article details, there are steps individuals can take to help prevent implant failure in the first place. Please always remember, we are here for you. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment.