Dental Implant Problems and Treatment

3D digital imaging

We use advanced technology for diagnosis and treatment planning, and to accurately determine the stability of implants.

Expert treatment for complications from dental implants

Although the vast majority of implants are successful, occasionally we see implants which have developed complications which need their own treatment and, in some cases, replacement with a new implant.

Complications are usually of two types:

  • The implant is loose or failing due to incomplete integration with the bone or poor original implant placement
  • Infection of the bone and gum surrounding the implant causing a condition similar to gum disease called Peri-Implantitis

Experienced, competent treatment for implant complications

Dr. Nathan HodgesDr. Hodges is very experienced and expert at handling implant complications. In addition to treating his patients, Dr. Hodges teaches advanced techniques in implant placement and implant care at Texas A&M Baylor College of Dentistry and in advanced education courses for his colleagues.

Comprehensive examination with digital X-rays

If you have an issue with your implants, your doctor will first conduct an examination and take digital X-rays to see what the problem is.

If you have an infection, your doctor will examine the area around your implant(s) and determine if you have peri-implantitis. We determine the extent of any peri-implantitis by gently probing and measuring the gum pockets around the implant. We examine the implant, gum and bone to find the cause of your peri-implantitis using the digital X-rays and an intraoral camera.

Once there is a diagnosis, your doctor will explain what is going on and what your treatment options are, and answer any questions you have.

To make an appointment, call our Rockwall 972-771-8640 or Paris 903-785-4832 office, or click here to request an appointment online.

Implant failure

implant_probImplants can fail before they are completely healed. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Following are the main causes of failure that have been observed:

Improper Implant placement

If the implant is incorrectly placed in the first place or placed without sufficient bone to support it, the implant can break or become loose. In this case, we will either replace the implant or add a bone graft to build the bone up.

Failure of bone to integrate

An implant needs to integrate with the bone in order to achieve firm support. Sometimes, for reasons not always known, the bone fails to integrate with the implant and the implant becomes loose or even falls out. If it falls out, obviously it needs to be replaced. If it is loose, a thorough examination will determine if treatment to preserve the implant is a viable option.

Infection leading to peri-implantitis

Dental implants that have actually integrated and been accepted by the body still can end up in a diseased and compromised condition due to infection. This is a condition called peri-implantitis. The infection causes inflammation in the gum and bone tissue, leading to the loss of supporting bone.

Causes of peri-implantitis

Peri-implantitis can result from a variety of different causes. These are the main issues we run into:

  • Poor original implant placement or premature placement of the new teeth
  • Inadequate oral hygiene
  • Disease from an adjacent tooth working its way to the implant site
  • Bite alignment problems which put undue pressure on the implant
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Smoking
  • Health conditions, such as diabetes and osteoporosis

Peri-implantitis symptoms

Many times the implant manifests no symptoms at all. The following are symptoms of peri-implantitis if they occur at the implant site:

  • The gums become red or a bluish purple, indicating inflammation
  • The gums bleed at the gum line when brushing
  • The gum pockets deepen
  • The gums swell
  • The area becomes sensitive
  • The metal threads of the implant become exposed
  • Pus is coming from the implant or gums

Our treatment of peri-implantitis

Peri-implantitis is more difficult to treat than periodontal problems around natural teeth.

Dr. Hodges will use the treatment method that is most effective for your situation. Wherever he can, he will use non-surgical methods.

3D cone beam CT scanner

We can get a 3D, 360º view of your implant and the surrounding tissues with our 3D cone beam CT scanner. This gives us a detailed look at what is going on without having to open your gum up.

High-tech non-surgical treatment

About Our Practice - North Texas Periodontal SpecialistsOften your peri-implantitis can be treated with deep cleaning, i.e. scaling and cleaning of the implant to remove the infection. Sometimes the peri-implantitis is caused by crown cement leaking under the gum line. We use a Perioscope, an advanced tiny camera that is inserted into the gum pocket, to get a clear view. The Perioscope can eliminate the need for surgery in many cases. In severe cases we may need to open up the gums to fully handle the situation.

Minimally invasive surgical options

Sometimes the implant area will need bone grafting to replace lost bone material, or gum tissue grafting to strengthen gum tissue support. We use minimally invasive techniques and apply growth proteins to the treated tissues which stimulate and speed the healing process. These growth proteins also prevent infection and reduce swelling.

Implants can be replaced if needed

In many cases we can effectively treat the diseased implant area and restore its stability and health. Unfortunately, in some cases the deterioration is too severe. The basic problem could also be that the implant was placed improperly in the first place. In these cases we will have to remove it and start over.

Do not lose hope if the implant needs to be removed. Just because it failed once does not mean that a new implant cannot be placed and made stable.

Preventing problems with implants

We recommend our implant patients come for regular cleanings and we teach them how to properly care for their implants at home.

Read more about dental implant cleanings and home care here.

To make an appointment, call our Rockwall 972-771-8640 or Paris 903-785-4832 office, or click here to request an appointment online.