Dental implants are tiny screw-like titanium posts surgically inserted into the jaw bone to act as sturdy roots for artificial teeth. They are known for their durability and ability to mimic the function and appearance of natural teeth. This makes them a preferred choice among many patients. However, one common question that arises is whether dental implants can be removed.
The short answer is yes, dental implants can be removed. However, only a qualified and experienced dental professional should do this procedure.
This article will discuss the reasons for removing dental implants and the process involved.
Reasons for Removing Dental Implants
The following are some of the reasons why a patient may need to have their dental implants removed:
Dental Implant Failure
Although dental implants have a high success rate, there are cases where the implant may fail. This can be due to several reasons, such as an infection, improper placement, or insufficient bone support. If the implant fails, it may need to be removed and replaced with a new one.
Failure of dental implants can be categorized into:
- Early Dental Implant Failure: This occurs within the first three to four months following surgery, during the healing period. The primary cause of early failure is problems with osseointegration, the process where the implant fuses with the jawbone.
- Late Dental Implant Failure: This type of failure happens after the implant has successfully integrated with the bone, typically more than a year after surgery. It’s often due to chronic issues that affect the stability of the implant over time.
Sometimes, a patient may develop an infection around the dental implant. This can be due to poor oral hygiene or other underlying medical conditions. If left untreated, the infection can spread and cause further complications. In such cases, the implant must be removed and treated before a new one can be placed.
Nerve damage is a potential complication of dental implant surgery, although it’s relatively rare. The inferior alveolar nerve, which gives sensation to the lower lip and chin, can potentially be damaged during the procedure. This could occur if an implant is placed too close to the nerve, leading to pain, numbness, or tingling in the lower lip, chin, or tongue.
If these symptoms persist, it may be necessary to remove the implant to alleviate the discomfort and prevent further damage. In some cases, the damage may be temporary, and sensation returns once the implant is removed. However, in some instances, the nerve damage may be permanent.
Dental implants require precise placement in the jawbone for optimal function and stability. If the implant is not placed correctly, it can cause discomfort or even damage to surrounding teeth and tissues. In such cases, removing the implant may be necessary to prevent further complications.
In rare cases, the dental implant itself may fail due to mechanical issues. This could be due to a fracture or damage to the implant structure. In such situations, removing and replacing the damaged implant may be necessary.
If a patient has experienced bone loss in the jaw due to factors such as gum disease or trauma, it may affect the stability and function of the dental implant. In such cases, removing the implant may be necessary to prevent further complications and allow for proper healing.
Certain health conditions, such as autoimmune disorders or cancer treatments, may affect the success of dental implants. In such cases, removing the implant may be necessary to prevent further complications and maintain overall health.
In rare cases, a patient may be allergic to the materials used in the dental implant. This can cause discomfort and complications, and removal of the implant may be necessary to alleviate these symptoms.
Some patients may simply want their dental implants removed for personal reasons. This could be because they are not satisfied with the appearance of the implant, or they have found an alternative solution to their missing tooth.
The Process of Removing Dental Implants
Removing dental implants is a delicate procedure that should only be performed by a trained and experienced dentist.
The steps involved are as follows:
Step 1: Assessment
The first step is to assess the patient’s oral health and the reason for removing the implant.
Step 2: Anesthesia
Local anesthesia is administered to numb the area and minimize discomfort during the procedure.
Step 3: Removal of Replacement Teeth
The artificial used (crown, bridge, denture) will be removed first if attached to the implant.
Step 4: Implant Removal Surgery
Your dentist will carefully remove the dental implant from the jawbone using specialized tools. There are several techniques used in the removal of dental implants, each one chosen based on the specific circumstances of the implant failure.
The methods include:
- Counter-Torque Ratchet Technique (CTRT): This is frequently used as it appears to be a conservative technique that allows for future implantation. The counter-torque ratchet is a device that can remove the implant without causing significant damage to the surrounding bone tissue.
- Piezo Tips: These are part of the piezosurgery unit and are used in the removal of dental implants. They use ultrasonic vibrations to treat the bone and remove the implant. This method is very precise, causes minimal trauma to the surrounding tissues, and can be beneficial for the healing process.
- High-Speed Burs: These are used to cut around the implant, allowing it to be removed. This method is usually used when other techniques are not viable, but it can cause more damage to the surrounding bone.
- Elevators and Forceps: These tools are used to loosen and extract the implant. These methods, however, are generally considered last resort due to the potential for damage to surrounding bone and tissue.
- Trephine Burs: These are cylindrical drills that are used to cut around the implant, allowing it to be removed. This method can help to preserve the surrounding bone for future implantation.
Step 5: Bone Graft
In some cases, bone grafting may be necessary to fill in any gaps or areas of bone loss caused by the implant removal.
This is done by taking another part of your body (autograft), from a human tissue bank (allograft), from an animal source (xenograft), or it can be synthetic. Your surgeon makes an incision in your gum to expose the bone area that is receiving the graft. The grafting material is then added. In some cases, a collagen membrane may be used to help guide the growth of new bone.
Step 6: Suturing and Healing
The area will be sutured to promote proper healing and prevent infection. The dentist or oral surgeon will typically use a special kind of dissolvable stitch that gradually disappears over time as the site heals. This means you won’t need to return to have them removed.
Step 7: Follow-Up
The patient will be given instructions for aftercare, and a follow-up appointment will be scheduled to monitor the healing process.
Can Dental Implants Be Removed and Replaced?
In most cases, dental implants can be removed and replaced with a new implant. However, it is essential to address the underlying issue that led to removing the original implant before placing a new one. Otherwise, the same issues may arise, and the new implant may also fail.
Can Dental Implants Be Removed and Replaced With Dentures?
Dental implants can be removed and replaced with dentures, although the process is complex and should be performed by a skilled oral surgeon or implant dentist. It involves making an incision in the gum tissue to expose the implant, which must be carefully removed to avoid damaging the surrounding bone and tissues.
It’s important to note that dental implants are not designed to be easily removed like dentures or bridges. If you have any concerns about your dental implants or are experiencing complications, consult your dentist for proper evaluation and treatment.
Can Dental Implants Be Removed for Cleaning?
Dental implants should not be removed for cleaning. Unlike traditional dentures, dental implants are designed to last many years to replace missing teeth and do not require daily removal for cleaning. Proper oral hygiene, including brushing twice daily and flossing regularly, is still necessary to maintain the health of your implant and surrounding teeth.
What Is the Success Rate of Dental Implants?
Many studies suggest that the success rate of dental implants is generally high, often exceeding 90%. However, it can vary based on factors, such as the patient’s overall health, the quality and quantity of the patient’s bone, the location in the jaw where the implant is placed, and the expertise of the practitioner performing the procedure.
For instance, a study by S Raikar in 2017, discussed factors affecting the survival rate of dental implants. While the exact rates are not provided in the context, it suggests that several factors can impact the survival rate of dental implants. Another study by N Thiebot in 2022 researched implant failure rates and the prevalence of associated risk. This implies that while the success rate is generally high, there can be instances of implant failure due to various risk factors.
How to Avoid Dental Implant Failures
Dental implant failure, while rare, can be a distressing experience. However, there are several ways to prevent it:
- Proper Placement: Many studies link peri-implantitis (infection around the implant) to dentist errors, including gum tissue malformations and the use of excess cement in placement. Therefore, ensuring the procedure is performed by a qualified and experienced professional is crucial.
- Good Oral Hygiene: Maintaining good oral hygiene can help prevent infection and ensure the success of the implant. Regular brushing, flossing, and check-ups with your dentist are necessary.
- Avoid Smoking and Alcohol: Both smoking and alcohol can impair the healing process after implant surgery, leading to complications. It’s recommended to quit smoking at least two weeks before treatment.
- Proper Aftercare: Following the aftercare instructions provided by your dentist can also help prevent implant failure. This might include avoiding certain foods and activities after the surgery.
- Underlying Health Conditions: Treating any underlying health conditions can also improve the success rate of dental implants. Conditions like diabetes and osteoporosis can affect the body’s ability to heal and integrate the implant with the bone.
- Regular Check-ups: Regular check-ups with your dentist can help identify potential issues early and take necessary action to prevent implant failure.
Remember, each patient’s situation is unique, and what works best for one person might not work for another. Always consult with your dental professional for personalized advice.
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
If you are missing one or more teeth and are generally in good health, dental implants may be a suitable option for you. However, certain factors such as jawbone density and overall oral health must be considered before determining if dental implants are right for you.
Contact Reston Serenity Smiles for professional advice or to schedule an initial dental implant consultation. Our dental office has a team of experienced dentists who have been performing this procedure for many years. We will evaluate your oral health and determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants.
Don’t let missing teeth affect your quality of life; call us today to learn more about how dental implants can restore your smile and confidence!