Dental implants have become a routine procedure for the replacement of missing teeth. The popularity of implants is understandable as available statistics indicate that the implant procedure has a success rate of 90-95 percent. Failures are few, and, in most cases, avoidable.
Recent advances in dentistry have further raised the prospects of successful implant placement, but carelessness on part of the doctor or the patient can still lead to failures. There are several factors that determine the success or failure rates of dental implants; they include:
- Quantity and quality of bone
- Patient’s age, and his general health
- Dentist’s skill and experience
- Location of implant placement
- Length of the implant
- Maintenance of oral hygiene
- Patient compliance
Quantity and quality of bone
Only healthy jaw bone, which has the required height and thickness, can receive dental implants. An implant is surgically screwed into the bone; if the base is not sound, it is bound to fail.
The quality and quantity of the bone should be nicely assessed by the dentist before he considers a patient for implant placement.
Patient’s age and his general health
Although, the placement of implants can be done in patients of any age, the middle-aged are best suited for it as their bone is stable, relatively lesser bone shrinkage is noted and they are less likely to have medical complications of the old.
Dentist’s skill and experience
Improper selection of case, wrong judgment of bone, surgical faults (nerve/vessel damage, insufficient irrigation of the surgical site, excessive drill speed, wrong direction of implant placement), can all lead to implant failure and major inconvenience for the patient. It is advisable to go to a capable, trusted doctor.
Location of implant placement
The amount of pressure on the implant depends on its location. The implant must be placed in the correct direction, and be adjusted according to the location. If placed in the posterior region, where more pressure is applied during chewing, the dentist must ensure he carefully guides the patient, so that no undue pressure is applied, which may lead to failure of the process.
Bone quantity and quality are also different in different regions of the mouth, and success rates of implants vary by the region.
Maintenance of Oral Hygiene
Poor oral hygiene is possibly the most common cause of implant failure. If there is excessive dental plaque and food debris in the surgical site, it may interfere with bone healing, and will not allow the implant to completely integrate with the bone (osseointegration). Increased concentration of bacteria in the region may lead to infection, which can be not only be painful, but can also ruin the whole process.
Excessive alcohol, smoking, unresolved caries or infection, are all contraindicated for implants. Patient should ensure the surgical site is not disturbed and must carefully follow the dentist’s instructions to allow for successful implant placement.
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