Your implant dentist has an important role to play in your dental implant procedure, ensuring that the implant is properly planned and placed, but your role is just as important. You need to do many things on a daily basis that your dentist just can’t, such as routine hygiene, getting proper nutrition, and watching out for potential dental implant complications.
Overall, dental implant survival rates are very high, and complications are uncommon, but they do occur, and when they occur it’s important to detect them sooner rather than later to help protect the dental implant and your overall oral health. Although we will also look out for complications, a new study shows that you may be almost as good at detecting problems as we are.
Surveying New Dental Implant Recipients
This new study, published in the British Dental Journal, looked at 75 people who received their dental implants less than a year before. They asked the implant recipients and their dentists about five areas of implant health: appearance, loose implants, bleeding or pus around the implant, fractured restorations, and occlusion, the way teeth fit together when the mouth is closed or during chewing.
Researchers expected that patients and their dentists might have radically different opinions about the health of their implants, but they found that, despite some differences, the patients and their dentists had basically the same assessment of their dental implants.
For example, 14.7% of patients thought their restorations were loose, according to the survey, compared to 13.3% of their dentists. This is a relatively small difference, and it isn’t statistically significant.
How Patients Can Detect Problems
It might seem troubling that a dental implant recipient, with zero training in dental implants can detect complications almost as well as their dentists, but it actually makes sense. When you get dental implants, you spend all day with them. You brush and floss them. You eat with them, talk with them, and can inspect them every time you look into the mirror. This gives you ample opportunities to detect minor dental implant problems.
This is not to say that you don’t need to make your follow-up appointments. Dentists will detect different problems and can help you tell the difference between minor problems and serious ones. It’s by working together with your implant dentist and their team that you can make sure you get the longest-lasting dental implants possible.