Dental Implant Failure (Top Four Signs You Need To Know)

how dental implants fail

Dental implant failure is a rare occurrence. However, we all know that it can still happen even with the most extreme precaution and innovative techniques. A failed dental implant does not develop as a result of bodily rejection like you would experience with an organ transplant. Instead, dental implant failure occurs on a combination of factors. It can be due to your overall health, the surgical procedure, or post-operative practices.

In this article, we will discuss all you need to know about implant dentistry, how it works, and what are the common reasons for a failed implant placement. Continue reading to learn more.

What is Implant Dentistry?

Over the years, implant dentistry has been known to be the gold standard to replace missing teeth. Aside from boosting your appearance, a dental implant placement is necessary to prevent bone loss or deterioration. This procedure is a significant restorative treatment that requires careful planning and consideration. This is due to the fact that these operations can directly affect your teeth and mouth, which are sensitive areas of our body. Since our oral condition plays a significant role in our overall health, the need to remove if surgery procedure fails is crucial.

Therefore, implant dentistry aims to improve not only the function and appeal of our teeth, but also our dental care methods. To consider your implant procedure a successful restorative treatment, it should provide countless benefits in the long run. Implant dentistry does not discriminate based on age; in fact, people of all ages are opting for dental implants as a restorative treatment to replace missing teeth.

What Happens During Dental Implant Placement?

Implant dentistry is a complex process that requires years of practice and expertise. Without enough knowledge and experience, the dental implant placement might not work well. A failed dental implant can cause a series of complications and oral concerns, which is why it is necessary to have the sufficient awareness on how each procedure works.

To understand more about the procedure, here are some of the basic steps that you will encounter:


regular dental checkups

An initial consultation is usually the first step for any dental treatments. This part is essential to evaluate your current condition. It also helps ensure that the implant placement will do no harm to your oral health. During the consultation, your dentist will check your mouth, jaw, and gums for any abnormalities and concerns.

You are a suitable candidate for dental implants if your jawbones have a sufficient foundation that will allow attachment of titanium posts. However, your dentist will recommend reconstruction treatment if there are visible signs of bone loss or gum disease. These factors are crucial to prevent a failed dental implant.

Implant Placement

If you’re a suitable candidate for dental implants, the following step is to have the titanium implant surgically placed in your jawbone. The implant itself is a prosthetic device that your surgeon will insert inside your gums in place of the missing tooth root. Often, a dental implant is made of titanium. This material contains special properties that our bones can successfully combine with.

Occasionally, the location where the implant shall be placed may still have an existing damaged tooth, thus necessitating an extraction procedure and bone transplant. But in other cases, a bone graft may not be needed because there is enough bone left. The damaged tooth is then pulled out and is followed by an immediate implant placement.

Thanks to the use of local anesthetic, the operation is more comfortable for patients. Dentists can also provide oral sedation for those who want a bit extra comfort.

Healing Period

A successful dental treatment is often determined by the body’s capacity to recover after the implant procedure. The implant will gradually fuse with the natural bone, completely compensating the lost root structure. Normally, this would take over a span of three to six months. During this period, it is necessary to follow several precautions and aftercare procedures.

Restoration Placement

Placement of finishing touches is the final step to complete your dental implants. You can choose over a variety of procedures, including the following:

  • Dental Crowns
  • Implant-supported Bridge
  • Implant-supported Dentures

Why Does Dental Implant Failure Happen?

causes of dental implant failure

Peri-implantitis and osseointegration failure are the two primary causes of dental implant failure. Peri-implantitis develops when you do not properly care for your teeth, such as cleaning and flossing them. It’s a type of gum disease in which the infection causes bone damage. Peri-implantitis might cause your tooth to loosen if it isn’t treated soon immediately.

On the other hand, when your jawbone does not develop around the implant to anchor it, the condition is said to be a failed osseointegration. It is linked to the quality of your bone, if you smoke, if your surgeon utilized bone grafting, and most importantly the type of treatment. When an implant fails to integrate and embed into your bone, complications usually happen soon after surgery.

What Are the Causes of a Dental Implant Failure?

Early Stages of Implant Failure

Despite following adequate precautions, not all implants can bind with your jawbone. Some people’s bodies are extremely sensitive to foreign materials or have undiscovered allergies, which might influence the body to reject the implant before the bone has fully healed. In between three to four months after surgery, the early signs of implant failure may appear. Below are some factors that cause immediate dental implant failure:

  • Blood flow to the implant region has been cut off
  • Infections in the mouth that are already present
  • During the healing process, the implant is moved or shifted
  • Implants are not given enough time to integrate
  • Patient’s oral health is deteriorating

Late Stages of Implant Failure

Although similar to early implant rejection, this failure occurs after the bone has completely healed. It frequently occurs as a result of neglect, such as poor home care or hygiene, or as a side effect of post-operative shock. Late dental failure can occur one to ten years after your operation and can involve the following:

  • Infections caused by bacteria
  • Excessive implant stress
  • Teeth grinding and clenching
  • Absence of bone structure
  • Absence of gum tissue
  • Oral hygiene issues
  • The effects of radiation on the head and neck
  • Food debris stuck between the implants.

What Are the Risk Factors of Dental Implant Failure?

Underlying Health Conditions

risk of dental implants

Implant failure is highly likely for those with chronic health issues such as autoimmune diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer. Even those with periodontitis are more prone to develop peri-implantitis, which can lead to bone loss and infection after surgery.

Gum Problems

Gum disease is a major factor that can accelerate tooth decay that leads to implant failure. This is why maintaining good dental hygiene is so important. Failures can also occur if the jawbone on which the implant to be anchored is insufficient. Because the bone supports the tooth and the implant integrates with the jaw, there is a high risk for your implant to fail.

Oral Condition

Peri-implantitis implant failure and other gum disorders can develop if you fail to brush and floss on a regular basis. The placement of the teeth in your mouth could also influence their success rate, as teeth near the rear of your mouth are subjected to higher stress from chewing, causing them to fail sooner.

Smoking Habits

Smoking is a significant factor that directly influences your healing progress. We all know that cigarette and tobacco contain a harmful ingredient called nicotine. This constituent along with other chemicals brought by the cigarette smoke affects your oral tissues. It can even damage or obstruct the salivary glands, resulting in mouth dryness. Tooth decay and gum disease can result from a lack of saliva, weakening the bone and gums that support your implants.

Teeth Grinding

If you grind your teeth often, the continual rubbing might be damaging to your pearly whites. Grinding implants puts them under stress, causing them to fail. However, while bruxism can make dental implant treatment more difficult, it is typically still doable. When you clench and grind your teeth, you may lessen the excessive pressure by wearing a night splint. This will ensure that your implant is appropriately protected from your condition. There are also complementary appliances that are suitable for treating people with bruxism.

Older Implant Technology

Dental implants may fail due to outdated materials and technology. A lot of dentists end up replacing these implants because of natural deterioration. In the past decade, implant-related practices and materials have greatly evolved. These changes have led to improvements in compatibility and durability of materials. If you have an older implant, it is likely possible that it can simply wear out in time.

What Are the Signs of Dental Implant Failure?

If you experience any of the symptoms listed below, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible so that the implant may be corrected according to the cause of failure.

Radiating Pain and Discomfort in the Teeth

identify failed dental implant

While some pain is to be expected during the healing period, discomfort can be deceiving because it may also be a warning of impending failure. One method to distinguish between the two is keeping in mind that discomfort occurs shortly after the implant has been placed. This is a normal part of the recovery process and will resolve by itself in a few days. If, on the other hand, your discomfort arises years after the treatment and you haven’t had any injuries, it might be a clear indication of an implant failure.

Gum Inflammation

Some modest swelling is to be expected following an implant operation. However, you should take it seriously when soreness continues and show signs of progressive inflammation. Gums that are red and swollen are a sure symptom of infection.

If left untreated, the infection can spread to other areas of the mouth. On rare circumstances, it can reach the bloodstream and result in a potentially serious situation. It’s advisable to contact your dentist as soon as you see an irritation so that it may be treated while it’s still manageable. Once an infection has progressed to the point where it becomes a full-blown infection, it is considerably more difficult to cure and will cause excruciating agony. While each situation is unique for everyone, this warning is something that should not be overlooked.

Improper Implant Placement

When a dental implant is correctly positioned, it should feel like your natural teeth. In fact, if done correctly, you won’t even notice you have an implant. It should never feel like you’re chewing on a foreign item. Implants must have the same level of security as natural teeth, with no wiggle or looseness. This is one of the simplest indications to identify because it can be verified.

A loose implant can potentially cause greater damage to your oral structure and should not be ignored. It’s vital to keep in mind that this symptom is never a natural side effect of the operation. In some cases of severe implant failure, the implant must be removed to prevent further harm. This is why scheduling an appointment with your dentist as soon as the problem is identified is critical to a successful treatment. If left untreated, serious damage to your jaws and gums can occur, altering the appearance of your dental structure and interfering with daily activities.

Difficulty in Biting and Chewing

If you have pain or discomfort while chewing meals or just biting down, this condition is a concern that might indicate a failure on the way. Implants, as previously indicated, should not feel different at any point. They function, look, and feel like real teeth, so if you’re having trouble eating, it’s just as likely that the implant is failing like a real tooth.

Difficulty with an implant is not a good sign, just as it is not a good indicator with natural teeth while chewing. You should see your dentist as soon as possible since the condition will not go away and will only worsen.

Can I Prevent Dental Implant Failure?

Maintain Oral Hygiene

avoiding dental implant failure

The most effective strategy to avoid infections is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Although implants do not decay since they are not real teeth, it is still necessary to maintain good dental hygiene. Brushing your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, before night and when you get up, is recommended. Experts recommend using an electronic tooth brush. These brushes are designed to seem like professional dental instruments and can help remove debris that can become lodged and bore microorganisms.

Additionally, flossing is also important. Floss at least once before going to bed and rinse your mouth with mouthwash. Even if you don’t have teeth that can decay, poor oral hygiene can make your bone vulnerable to infection and illness. Implants require enough bone support to function correctly, and though implants are resistant to deterioration, they are not immune to infection. A dental implant’s shelf life might be substantially shortened if it becomes infected.

Find A Skilled Dentist

Some of the causes that might contribute to failure can be avoided by choosing a qualified and skilled dentist. When it comes to having implants, you want to go to someone who has been trained and certified by the implant provider. It’s critical that your dental hygienist follows the necessary procedures which include sterility, avoiding excessive bone heat, designing the suitable flap, ensuring a solid insertion, and inserting the implants where there’s enough bone. Additionally, being transparent regarding your medications, ailments, and other aspects of your health condition can also help you achieve a better success rate.

Get Your Concerns Checked

If you notice signs of dental implant failure, it’s essential to make an appointment with your dentist straight away. Even if it turns out to be hardly anything, the old adage “better safe than sorry” holds true. On the positive side, if it is a failure, dealing with it sooner rather than later will give a better result and prevent a larger problem. To prevent future infection, your dentist will most likely prescribe antibacterial mouthwash and antibiotics three times a day.

A Word of Advice

Even though dental implant failure rarely happens, it is crucial to remember that there are many variables that might raise your chances of having a dental implant failure. Such factors include hygiene, smoking addiction, or any other habit or condition that can decrease your immunity against diseases.

A lot of people are looking for ways to avoid doing anything which might put their implants at risk of failing. In reality, you can lower your chances by avoiding common causes. However, there are also other problems which are unavoidable. Some may be influenced by heredity or allergies, while others are caused by poor habits or a mixture of both.

If you want to get the most of your dental implants, it is good to know what to look out for. In case you suspect any possible concerns, it is best to talk to your dentist as soon as possible.


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