If properly cared for, most dental implants will last a lifetime. However, the artificial root of each implant needs to fuse with the jawbone – this process is known as osseointegration. Failed osseointegration occurs when the jawbone and implant fail to properly fuse. It’s a problem that can be addressed and corrected, but you need to catch it fast.
Here are just five common signs of failed osseointegration.
- Uneven Appearance
Movement due to failed osseointegration can be quite slight, but you may be able to pick it up when you look in the mirror, especially if the implant has been placed relatively close to the front. If you think something might be wrong, lightly pull back the lip and try to see if the implant is sitting strangely.
You’ll obviously need to see your dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible if you notice movement around your implant, but keep in mind that such movement may be quite minor. Even if you’re only noticing a slight sense of movement, make sure you see someone to check it out.
- Chewing Difficulties
Even if you don’t actually notice your implant moving, tiny shifts could impact the way you chew. If the implant shifts even a small amount, the surrounding teeth may meet differently as you bring them together in a bite. This should be particularly noticeable when you’re chewing tough or sticky food.
- Bad Breath
When your dental implant starts to move even slightly, it’s entirely possible for food debris to get stuck beneath the gum line. Since it cannot be removed through brushing or flossing, that debris will start to rot, producing an unpleasant taste and smell regardless of how well you’re looking after your oral health.
Finally, failed osseointegration may lead to infection. The same pockets where food gathers can become a haven for bacteria. If an infection develops you’ll start to notice swelling and discomfort around the implant. This is a serious condition regardless of its cause, so you should never wait to see a dental professional.