I decided to get all-on-4 dental implants about eight years ago. It was a major investment and I was sold on it because my dentist said that the dental implants would be permanent and last the rest of my life. Well, the whole process was a lot more extensive than I realized. Then, a couple months ago I began to notice a gross taste in my mouth. I keep up with brushing and flossing every morning and night. But, since the taste wasn’t getting any better, I started using mouthwash because I was paranoid that my breath would stink.
At my last appointment, I talked with my hygienist about what was going on with the bad taste in my mouth. The dentist did x-rays right away and told me that the dental implants were infected. They gave me antibiotics and they seemed concerned that the antibiotics alone wouldn’t be enough. They explained that I could end up losing the appliance and that I may require surgery to fix the infected implant.
I’m so disappointed that the all-on-4’s only lasted eight years before I started having problems. The last thing I want to do is put myself through the lengthy dental implant process again. I’m also not thrilled about the additional cost after such a large investment. Is this something that could happen again? I don’t want to put myself through the entire process to end up in the same boat. It makes me rethink why I got dental implants in the first place and to reconsider if dentures are right more me. I’m not even 65 yet and don’t want to keep dealing with issues from dental implants.
Any insight you have would be very helpful.
-Benjamin in Nevada
It is unfortunate that you are having to deal with an infection. Typically, dental implants have a high success rate.
However, there is always a possibility of complications. Here are some statistics that break things down.
Dental Implant Statistics
One relevant study included 245 patients who had 980 dental implants placed. Their progress was tracked for 10 years. At that time, only 13 of the 245 patients had dental implants that failed. Therefore, this translates to a 94.7% success rate. Of the 980 dental implants that were placed, there were 21 total dental implants that failed. If you break the numbers down in this manner, the result is a success rate of 97.8%. These statistics are quite strong.
Factors That Impact Dental Implant Success
There are many factors that may impact the success of a dental implant procedure. The All-on-4 dental implants procedure, doesn’t work for everyone. There are many things to consider that may negatively affect the outcome including gum disease, bone density at the implant site, smoking decreases the success rate, as well as health problems like diabetes or other inflammatory diseases.
After eight years with the All-on-4 implants, it is unlikely that the initial dental implant placement was the problem. You would have had more issues much sooner if the placement was an issue, likely within the first year. Therefore, it is possible that some other factor has contributed to the infection. Do you have any of the risk factors like a health condition or are you a smoker? If not, it will be quite difficult to determine exactly what went wrong, especially without having seen you in person.
Redoing the Dental Implants
At this point, it is a personal decision about whether or not to move forward with replacing the infected dental implants. If there was a specific cause that your dentist has identified, together you can determine what the best fit is for moving forward. But, if you fall into one of the risk categories, there is a possibility that you will have more problems. Dentures or overdentures may be an alternative to replace your missing teeth.
The good news in your situation is that it sounds like three out of the four dental implants are successful. So, this will limit the amount of rework that is required.
Hopefully this information is helpful to you as you figure out what to do next. You may get some peace of mind by finding another implant dentist in your area to get a second opinion. Another specialist doesn’t know your history and can look at your case independently and offer you unbiased feedback. Good luck!
This post is sponsored by Petaluma dentist Dr. Rick Lane.