Dental implants are a durable solution for damaged or missing teeth. However, some patients experience dental implant pain years after having them fitted. This pain can indicate implant failure or one of several other complications.
If you experience any kind of pain or discomfort at the implant site, it’s best to contact your dentist immediately. A failing dental implant is something you should treat as soon as possible since it can damage your jawbone and even result in a bone graft being required.
Signs of Dental Implant Problems
Complications and implant failure can happen shortly after the procedure if the implant doesn’t take or if an infection appears. However, some issues can appear months or even years after the procedure. Around five to ten per cent of dental implants end up failing, and problems don’t always arise right away.
Here are some common signs of dental implant problems:
- You’re experiencing pain or discomfort around the implant site.
- Your gums are sore and painful.
- You’re seeing signs of inflammation or receding gums.
- The implant feels loose.
- Chewing is difficult or painful.
- There are changes in the appearance of the implant, surrounding teeth, or gum tissues.
Why Might Dental Implants Be Causing Pain?
You can experience dental implant pain years later for several reasons. If your oral surgeon installs an implant too close to a nerve, it could damage the nerve and surrounding tissues over time. You might experience pain, numbness, and tingling around the implant site or in other parts of your mouth and face.
It’s not common, but your body can reject an implant years later. You would experience typical infection symptoms, including pain, discomfort, swelling, and fever.
Dental implants can become loose. This problem might indicate bone loss, but your implant can also get loose or dislodged after an injury. Implants can also break due to excessive wear and tear.
If you have a dental implant in your upper jaw, it could end up protruding into the sinus cavity and cause pain and discomfort.
Corrosion isn’t common, but it can appear if you have old dental implants. Metallic debris and corrosion can cause inflammation and receding gums.
Periodontitis or peri-implantitis are common complications. Plaque can form around teeth or implants and cause bacteria to grow. Periodontitis can damage gum tissues and lead to infections if it isn’t managed appropriately.
Issues with bones can cause implant pain years later. It takes months for an implant to fuse with your jawbone in a process called osseointegration. Your implant could get loose if the bone doesn’t fuse properly. Furthermore, bone loss can reverse the process of osseointegration.
Smoking and some medication can also impact the healing process and cause implant failure.
How to Prevent Issues with Dental Implants
Adopting good oral hygiene and scheduling regular checkups with your dentist can prevent issues with dental implants:
- Brushing and flossing twice a day can prevent gum disease and infections.
- If you smoke, quitting should be a priority. Smoking can affect your bone structure, circulation, and increases the risks of implant failure.
- Be careful with your food and beverage choices. It might be best to avoid hard foods and to stay away from excessively cold or hot foods and beverages if you have sensitive teeth or gums.
- A mouthguard can prevent injuries and protect your implant if you grind your teeth a night.
- A diet rich in calcium can strengthen your teeth and jawbone and help with the implantation process.
When to See a Dentist
If you have dental implants, it’s best to see your dentist once every six months for a checkup. Your dentist will inspect the dental site for any signs of inflammation and other issues. It’s important to see your dentist regularly because simple things like teeth cleaning reduce risks of complications, and your dentist might be able to catch problems before they worsen.
You should see a dentist immediately if you experience implant pain, discomfort, or swelling. You should also schedule an appointment if your implant feels loose or if you damaged or broke the implant.
It’s important to address dental implant issues as quickly as possible. Removing the implant is sometimes the best course of action. If you wait, the failing implant could damage your bone, gum tissues, or adjacent teeth and require more extensive dental care in the future.