Dental implants have been a popular treatment for people looking to refresh and restore their smiles for decades. However, most people think they don’t need to worry about getting a replacement once they have an implant. While the lifespan of an implant reaches an impressive 15 to 20 years, this is not always the case. Approximately 12% of implants fail due to underlying health reasons. Also, due to wear and tear over time, there is a chance that you may need to replace your dental implant sooner than 15 years. Here’s why a dental implant replacement may be necessary in some cases and how you can take steps to get the longest life out of your implant.

What Causes Dental Implant Failure?

Implants have a success rate of over 90 percent. However, this is after a long healing process which may involve multiple supplemental treatments. Failure typically happens within the first few months of the healing process. If the jawbone bone does not properly fuse to the implant, the implant will become unstable and fall out. This is often caused by gum disease, smoking, or diabetes, which makes it harder for wounds to heal. Even after a year or so, it is not uncommon for infections to develop around the implant and gum, especially if you’re not keeping the area clean.

Another reason for implant failure is physical damage to your crown. Regular wear and tear aren’t uncommon. If you grind your teeth while you sleep or clench your jaw frequently, you may need a dental implant replacement after a few years because this pressure may form hairline cracks. Accidents also happen. Like natural teeth, crowns can break if you chew on hard foods or ice.

How to Care for Your Dental Implant

Although your implant isn’t a “natural” tooth, it requires the same TLC as your other pearly whites. Make sure you’re brushing regularly and following the below care advice:

  • Use a soft nylon brush while cleaning your teeth. Toothbrushes with hard bristles can scratch the surface of your crown and potentially lead to damage.
  • Avoid any abrasive products, whether that be toothpaste or mouthwash. Try to stick with sensitive cleaning products.
  • Floss every day. Only 4 in 10 Americans floss consistently. It’s important to clean under the gumline to remove bacteria from your implant. You can still develop gum disease, even if you have an implant.
  • Don’t chew on hard foods, ice, or pens/pencils.

Dental Implant Replacement

What should you do if your crown cracks or your implant falls out? Call your dentist immediately for a dental implant replacement. If the base of your implant has fallen out, you may have to undergo another implant surgery. In this situation, a bone graft provides extra support to the new implant. If the crown breaks, your dentist can create a new one in about two visits.

Turn to DICE for Your Dental Implants

DICE Dental in Bethlehem Township offers several cosmetic dental services, including implants, crowns, and extractions. Whether you’re considering dental implants or need a dental implant replacement, we can help you get back to smiling. Schedule an appointment today to learn more.