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  • Writer's pictureDr Bebeau

Dental Implant Removal: When Is It Necessary?

Dental implants are designed to last for many years. However, they may require removal in certain situations. Dr. Bebeau at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Phoenix is happy to explain the reasons for dental implant removal and the method for removing them.

Why Might Dental Implants Need to Be Removed?

The first thing to understand about dental implants is that they are meant to be a permanent, surgical replacement for missing teeth. Unlike dentures, they do not need to be removed for cleaning. With good oral hygiene habits and regular visits to the dentist for professional cleanings, dental implants can last a lifetime.

Because they are a permanent solution, dental implants help to reduce the long-term costs of your oral care. It is only in cases where there is an active risk to a patient’s health or lifestyle that removal is considered. Generally, dental implants only need to be removed when they fail.

Early Implant Failure

If the implant does not properly attach to the jawbone within the first year after placement, early implant failure may occur. Infections or rejection of the implant are the two most common reasons for early implant failure.

An infection causes what is known as peri-implantitis, inflammation of the surrounding soft tissue, gums, and bone that results in implant failure. Host rejection can occur for a number of reasons, including immunological factors or a titanium allergy.

Late Implant Failure

If the implant does not fully attach to the jawbone one year after implantation, this is known as late implant failure. An implant can also fail due to infections, as above, but in some cases, too much force is exerted on the implant, which loosens it. A loose implant will definitely need treatment, and might necessitate removal, depending on the situation.

How Are Dental Implants Removed?

Dental implants are titanium screws that are surgically implanted into the jawbone, so removal methods require breaking that connection. The traditional method has been to use what is known as a trough bur, a cutting instrument that can safely cut out a small section of the bone that holds the implant in place. A bone graft may be required to prepare for a replacement implant.

In recent years, technological advances have made it possible to perform implant removals without cutting into the bone. This is done using an adapter that can generate high amounts of torque to loosen and remove the implant by unscrewing it. Because there is little to no bone loss, a replacement implant can typically be installed immediately after removal.

Can Dental Implant Crowns Be Removed?

Yes—the crowns placed on top of implants can be removed, just like crowns on natural teeth. Dental crowns are not meant to last the lifetime of a patient. Depending on their materials, crowns usually only last for about ten to fifteen years. While regular cleaning and care can extend that range further, most dental crowns will need replacement at some point.

Where Can I Have My Implants Removed?

If you feel that you are in need of implant removal and replacement, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Phoenix can provide you with the care you need. Dr. Bebeau understands the needs of our patients and the concerns that implant procedures can cause, and he’s dedicated to restoring your smile safely and effectively. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for an implant examination.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (10/31/2022). Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.

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