Millions of Americans enhance their smiles with dental implants each year, but the American Academy of Implant Dentistry reports that only 10% of dentists who practice in the United States offer this procedure. Applying implants requires special training and/or board certification in some areas, which may explain why the insertion of dental implants has a 95% or higher overall success rate. Unfortunately, sometimes issues still occur. Here are some ways to figure out whether an installed dental implant is the right size for your mouth.
Alignment With Other Teeth
When you request a dental implant procedure, you probably want to enhance the function of your teeth, but you also may want to improve the appearance of your smile. Implants, when installed correctly, can fill gaps in your grin with smooth, white teeth. If an implant is not placed correctly, it may appear to be longer or shorter than its surrounding teeth.
An experienced dental practitioner knows to measure the area carefully where the implants will be applied, but a measurement that is even a couple of millimeters off can impact a patient's smile dramatically. A tooth may also end up being the wrong size if measurements were taken before the gums had time to heal from a tooth extraction. When a tooth is removed, the bones and gum shrink around the area where the tooth originally sat. A bone graft can help prevent this issue, and a tissue graft can help repair it if you are already dealing with misaligned implants.
Some patients choose to wear dentures over their dental implants. Your dentures should fit snugly but comfortably around your regular teeth and implants. If your dentures feel too tight, then one -- or all -- of your implants may be too big. Loose dentures that slide out of place may be the result of a too-small implant or an implant in need of maintenance.
The same set of dental implants can remain in your mouth throughout your entire life, but they do require ongoing maintenance. You may need multiple adjustments over the years, but the exact number depends on your lifestyle and how well you care for your implants. It's important to have a trusted dental expert examine your implants if you notice that your dentures are slipping out of place frequently, as loose dentures may cause discomfort or even leave painful lacerations on your gums.
After having implants installed, you may notice some pain in the sinus region. This area is located around your nose and below your eyes. The symptoms may be temporary, especially if you were diagnosed with sinus problems prior to your implant procedure. If symptoms do not improve within a week or two, your implants might be responsible for your discomfort.
Some skilled surgeons perform a sinus augmentation prior to installing dental implants. This procedure frees up room for a bone graft, which helps make a patient's mouth strong enough to support a set of implants. If this procedure is skipped or performed incorrectly, dental implants in the back of the mouth may end up being too large for the patient.
Sometimes this issue causes pain without infection, but there are times when bacteria can get trapped in the sinus region. If you experience severe, post-implant sinus pain, pay a visit to an established dental implant provider to find out how to proceed. Medication and/or corrective surgery can alleviate the pain.
The issues above show why it's extremely important to choose a dental practitioner who has extensive experience working with dental implants. Whether you're considering implants for the first time or want to find out whether a botched procedure can be repaired, a trusted, highly qualified dental implant specialist can help.