Research has proven that missing teeth can have a negative impact on your overall health and well-being. However, dental implants have revolutionized the field of dentistry, providing a durable, natural-looking solution for those who are missing one or more teeth.
While the success rate of dental implants is high, there are situations in which implants must be removed. In this article, we’ll explore the question: can dental implants be removed?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made of a biocompatible material, usually titanium, that are surgically implanted into the jawbone. Over time, the jawbone heals around and fuses with the implant through a process known as osseointegration. This creates a stable foundation for the attachment of artificial teeth. The success of the procedure depends on the body’s acceptance of the implant as a natural part of the oral structure.
While dental implants are designed to be a durable and long-lasting solution for tooth replacement, there are instances where removal becomes necessary. Several factors can contribute to the need for dental implant removal, and understanding these common reasons is essential for both patients and dental professionals.
Here are some common reasons dental implants may need to be removed:
Successful dental implants rely on successful osseointegration. If this process does not occur as expected, the implant may not be stable and may need to be removed. In some cases, peri-implantitis may occur. This condition is similar to gum disease and, if left untreated, can lead to jawbone loss and implant failure.
While dental implants are strong and durable, there is a slight risk of fracture. This can be due to excessive force, trauma, or manufacturing defects. A fractured implant may need to be removed to avoid further complications.
While dental implants will not develop decay, they are still susceptible to the effects of gum disease. If not properly maintained, gum disease can lead to inflammation, infection, and the need for removal.
Over time, without stimulation from tooth roots, the jawbone may deteriorate. Dental implants require adequate jawbone density for support, and, without it, the stability of the implants can be compromised.
In some cases, the prosthesis can fail due to mechanical issues, improper fit, or wear and tear.
While titanium is biocompatible, there are other trace metals used in these implants. This can trigger an allergic reaction in some patients, which can lead to implant failure.
Physical trauma to the face/jaw can impact the stability of dental implants. In cases of severe trauma, the implant and surrounding structures may be damaged, which means the implant may need to be removed for the patient’s overall health and well-being.
Certain medical conditions can impact the success of the dental implants. Patients with issues such as uncontrolled diabetes, compromised immune systems, or an autoimmune disorder may experience healing issues and an increased risk of infection.
Improperly placed implants can lead to functional and aesthetic issues. In these cases, removal and re-evaluation may be necessary to achieve optimal results.
The most common challenges of dental implant removal include:
Strong integration of the implant with the surrounding bone makes removal more challenging.
Dental implant removal requires a surgical approach, and in some cases, more invasive techniques may be necessary.
Proximity to nerves and blood vessels poses a risk of damage during removal, leading to potential complications.
Implants may fracture during removal, especially if they have weakened over time or if excessive force is applied.
Minimizing bone loss during removal is crucial for future implant placement or alternative prosthetic solutions.
Dental implant removal is a surgical procedure, and patients may experience discomfort during and after the process.
There is a risk of infection during and after implant removal, particularly if pre-existing issues like peri-implantitis are present.
Preserving the integrity of prosthetic components attached to the implant is important during the removal process.
Complications such as delayed healing or excessive swelling may occur after dental implant removal.
Planning for future restoration, which may involve bone grafting or alternative prosthetic solutions, is essential after implant removal.
Dental implant removal involves specialized techniques to address the challenges associated with the strong integration of the implant with the surrounding bone. The choice of technique depends on factors such as osseointegration, implant stability, and the overall condition of the implant.
The most common techniques Dr. Scott uses for implant removal include:
Manual extraction is suitable when the implant can be manually dislodged. This technique is similar to a tooth extraction. Hand instruments and forceps are used to detach the implant from the surrounding bone.
A surgical approach may be required when osseointegration is strong and more precision is required to minimize damage to the bone. This involves a surgical procedure using rotary instruments or ultrasonic devices to section the implant into removable fragments.
Once the dental implant has been successfully removed, careful attention must be given to post-op care and rehabilitation of the affected area. Depending on the extent of jawbone loss during the procedure, bone grafting may be required to restore the natural contours of the jaw. Additionally, ridge augmentation may be required to prepare the site for future implant placement or alternative restorations.
Dental implants have transformed the landscape of restorative dentistry, providing patients with a reliable, aesthetically pleasing solution for missing teeth. While this restoration has a high long-term success rate, there are risks.
Dr. Scott at Springhill Dental Center in Mobile, Alabama can help you navigate and mitigate these risks, improving your results with dental implants.
My visit was incredible. I had my “All on Four” appliances cleaned, and it was a painless and thorough experience. Dr. Scott and all his staff are very friendly. During the cleaning, Mary was gentle and let me know everything she was doing and how it would feel. She gave me tips on how to clean my implants/appliances better and gave me a small brush to do the underside more effectively. Dr. Scott and Mary suggest cleanings take place every 3 months so I will be back in December.
Dr. Byron Scott is a highly-trained and accomplished dentist. He attended The University of Alabama School of Dentistry and subsequently completed numerous Advanced Studies and Trainings. Dr. Scott is Board-Certified by The Academy of General Dentistry and has earned Mastership status (MAGD), an honor shared by only 1% of dentists. He has numerous memberships and associations, including Diplomate status with The American Board of Oral Implantology (D-ABOI) and The International Congress of Oral Implantologists (D-ICOI). Overall, Dr. Scott has dedicated his life and career to helping patients improve their oral health through expert dentistry. His goal is to help each patient keep their smile healthy, attractive, and comfortable for the duration of their lifetime.