Two Ways Dental Implants Fail

I get this question nearly daily, “how long do implants last?”. I like to answer the question by considering the ways implants fail. Implants can fail due to overload or gum disease.

Titanium can’t get a cavity, but the supporting gum and bone break down from gum disease. Over the course of the day food debris builds up on the teeth. When we brush we are trying to remove this soft buildup. It that plaque stays on our teeth for more than 24 hours calcium from the saliva will become incorporated into the plaque forming tartar.  Tartar is calcified onto the side of the tooth or implant. The only way to remove it is with special instruments the hygienist uses to clean teeth. Brushing harder or using a stiff toothbrush will just irritate the gums. The rough tartar covered surface is a great place for bacterial to life. The body senses this bacteria as an infection and launches the immune system into action. This response is the cause of bleeding gums, redness and swelling. It also leads to bone loss around teeth and implants. This is the primary way implants fail.

If the bite is too heavy on an implant, or a tooth, the excess force can cause failure as well. But this is generally easy to identify and correct.

We see several patients each day with one more more teeth replaced with dental implants. We use the latest techniques to maintain those implants and make sure they last a lifetime. Recently Dr Nick attended a meeting presented by the gum specialists down at the University of Washington. The consensus of at the meeting affirmed many of the strategies we were already using and add a couple techniques to monitor implant health.