I was in need of dental implants over five years ago. I’m in my 60s but wanted something that would last a lifetime, so I opted for All-on-4 implant overdentures. So far I have had no problems and feel they were a good investment. I maintain a strict oral hygiene routine with mouthwash and flossing in order to protect my teeth. However, one day I noticed a strange taste in my mouth, but nothing else was out of place. I mentioned this to my dentist at my six-month check-up, and after an X-ray, he determined I had an infection in one of my All-on-4 implants.
I was given some antibiotics, but he warned me that if the infection came back, the implant would have to be replaced – meaning it would have to be removed and I would have to go through surgery again.
I’m not too happy about having to go through this painful and expensive process again. I thought this would last the rest of my life, so why would they fail just a few years in? Is this normal? Will my new implant be likely to fail a few years down the line too? Do I have any other options?
Monty, from Decide, Kentucky
Your situation is unique and unfortunate. Studies have shown that All-on-4 dental implants have over a 94% success rate even 10 years post-surgery. However, there are no studies regarding success rates on replacement dental implants.
However, certain things can affect whether these implants are likely to fail. If you have periodontal disease, any pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes or inflammatory disease, or if you are a smoker, your implants are far more likely to fail. If none of these issues affect you, then something else may have caused the infection, and it may be impossible to determine the cause.
Also, any issues with your implants would likely have been noticeable shortly after surgery. Since your implants are several years old, your body has likely adapted to having them in your body.
Going through the process again is up to you. If the infection is only sourced in one implant, then likely the rest of your dental work will likely hold up for the rest of your life. If you are not sure, you can consult with a periodontist for a second opinion.
This blog post is brought to you by San Antonio All-on-4 dental implant provider, Dr. Gilberto Tostado, of 5 Star Dental Group.