According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, 3 million people in the United States have implants, and that number grows by 500,000 each year. If you’re a candidate for dental implants, educating yourself on what to expect and how to ensure a successful outcome is key. Below, we’ve listed five common mistakes that can derail your dental implants.
1) Being unaware of your options
The dental implant journey is lengthy yet worthwhile, and knowing your options will make you more comfortable with your final decision. It’s essential to speak with our experienced dental team, who can answer your questions and walk you through all the options.
Before deciding how to proceed, we suggest asking if you’re a candidate for:
- Saving your teeth - If possible, this is always the best option
- Single implants - If you do not need an entire new arch of teeth, single implants can function well as a single tooth replacement.
- Partial denture - When there are reliable, well-anchored teeth to use as a base, removable partial dentures may be an alternative to replacing multiple missing teeth.
In the end, it’s your mouth, and your decision will affect your quality of life. We know that informed patients are happier patients, so don’t hesitate to ask questions.
2) Failing to communicate your medical history
Given the number of implant options available today, most people are good candidates. Even if you’ve lost several teeth or lack bone structure in your jaw, our dentist can usually adapt the procedure to work for you. However, certain conditions can adversely affect outcomes. If your medical history involves any of the following, you should let your dentist know as soon as possible:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Uncontrolled gum disease
- Radiation to the jawbone
- Suppressed immune system from medications
- Teeth grinding or clenching
Having one or more of these concerns doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from getting implants, but your dentist will need to factor these into the procedure. To avoid dental implant problems, make sure to disclose all these issues during your initial evaluation.
3) Not reporting issues right away
After your implant procedure, you should expect to feel a certain degree of pain and discomfort. In addition, you will likely experience some bleeding and swelling, especially in the hours after your surgery. However, these issues should resolve themselves within a few days. If you continue to experience pain or bleeding, don’t wait for the issue to resolve itself! It’s critical that you reach out to our dental team as soon as possible for additional instructions.
Issues may end up being relatively minor, like a sinus infection that affects the implants. However, other cases may be more severe, such as an allergic reaction to the metals used in the implant. No matter what you’re experiencing, it’s worth having our team take a look.
4) Skimping on recovery time
We understand that our patients are busy, and it’s not always feasible to take extended time off from work, daily routines, and family obligations. While you may be anxious to get back to your regular activities, it’s essential to follow our advice – particularly when it comes to jumping back into your active lifestyle. Injury and trauma are significant risks, as your sutures will be vulnerable to damage in the first few days following your procedure.
To ensure a successful recovery, you should work with our dental provider to understand when it’s safe to resume specific activities. For example, low-impact exercise, like walking and yoga, is safer than more active activities like jogging or tennis and can safely be resumed sooner. Remember, your body is healing, and it’s best to ease back into activities slowly.
5) Slipping into poor oral hygiene habits
Adopting and maintaining good oral hygiene habits is essential for long-term implant success. Regular brushing and flossing will help to keep your mouth free of bacteria and prevent infection during the healing process and maintain a healthy smile for years to come. It’s also important to remember that habits such as nail-biting, chewing on ice, and using your teeth as tools (i.e., to open packages, etc.) should be avoided as the excess pressure can lead to implant failure. One of the benefits of dental implants is that they function like natural teeth, so it makes sense that patients with good oral hygiene have implants that last longer!
Contact Our Office
If you’re considering dental implants, we’re happy to answer any questions. Please get in touch with our dental team to discuss the best options for you.