Tags – Why Do Dental Implants Fail


Regardless of if you just need a single tooth replacing or multiple teeth, dental implants will give you a beautiful, natural smile that will leave you feeling confident.

Although the success rate for this procedure is relatively high, 95% to be precise, there is still room for dental implant placements to fail.

Which begs the question, why?

Why do they go wrong and how can you prevent it from happening?

Well, we’re here to reveal all the answers and discuss 5 reasons that can cause dental implant failure.


Signs of Dental Implant Failure

Before we dive into the possible reasons why, let’s take a look at the common signs that show an implant has failed:

  • Severe pain and discomfort: pain at the beginning of your recovery process is normal and to be expected, but if you still experience this for some time after the procedure, it could indicate that something is wrong
  • Swelling or inflammation in the gums: like pain, minor swelling is normal. However, if your gums are red and inflamed, it could be a sign of infection and will need to be treated immediately
  • The implant feels loose or moves in the mouth: dental implants should feel as secure as your natural teeth. Loose and unstable implants are never normal so you should seek professional attention as soon as possible


5 Reasons Why Dental Implants Fail

Below are 5 of the main reasons why a dental implant can fail:


1. Misalignment

Positioning the implant so that it is completely surrounded by the bone is one of the most challenging aspects of this procedure.

One reason being, sometimes the best position in the bone is not the ideal position for the implant.

And so, the implant and the bone can end up being misaligned.

Consequently, if the implant does not align with the bone, the crowns can look very unnatural, gums can recede and make the grey metal part visible.

Unfortunately, correcting implants that are not positioned properly can be tricky; removing them can damage the jaw as well as adjacent teeth.

Hence, it’s important to get this right the first time round – only choose a dentist with the knowledge and experience to deliver the best results.


2. Poor Impressions

For the crowns to be made, impressions are moulded by your dentist then sent off to the lab.

But, if these impressions are not accurate, then your new replacement teeth may not fit properly.

As such, even the most subtle misfit can cause a gap between the gum and the crown, which will compromise both the function and the look of them.

Moreover, having a gap can allow bacteria into the gums which can eventually lead to an infection. And even though an infection can be treated, the entire implant may need to be replaced.

That said, your dentist must perform the procedure accurately under high magnification, to lessen the possibility of any mistakes or gaps.


3. Peri-Implantitis (Infection)

Peri-implantitis is a condition whereby the gum and/or bone around the dental implant becomes inflamed and infected.

And, this is one of the main causes of dental implant failure; some argue whether it should be classed as a disease or a complication due to a foreign body being placed in the oral cavity.

Regardless, the infection can set in when there is bacteria present during the procedure, or any time post-surgery if proper dental hygiene is not maintained.

Typically, patients who fall victim to this will notice swelling or a collection of pus next to the implant, that tastes or smells funny.

It’s worth noting here that diabetic patients, smokers and those with poor oral hygiene are most at risk of developing an infection.

So to prevent this from happening, good oral hygiene is key. Sounds obvious, but your daily dental routine needs to include brushing and flossing, morning and night, to stop bacteria from building up.


4. Failed Osseointegration (Loose Implants)

Osseointegration is the direct fusion between the bone and the artificial titanium implant; a process that takes place over the course of a few months after the implant is put in place.

In rare instances, the implant may feel loose, show signs of bone loss around it or completely fall out.

In other words, the failure of the implant is caused as the jawbone was not able to fuse with the implant properly.

There are a few factors that can cause this to happen, such as:

  • Insufficient bone volume or density 
  • Damage to surrounding tissues
  • Sudden impact/force
  • Overloading from heavy grinding
  • Incorrect positioning (caused by the dentist)

In order for the implant to fuse properly into the jawbone, there must be a healthy volume of bone present.

For those who lack adequate bone width, length or height, they may require additional procedures like a bone graft or a sinus lift to add more bone mass.


5. Overloading of Implants

Overloading refers to implant failure that is caused by pressure or external force placed on the crown.

And, these forces can very easily disrupt the osseointegration process.

In some cases, your dentist may decide to do immediate loading during the procedure, which is a one-step method where the crown and the abutment are placed on the implant right after it’s been surgically inserted.

Usually, this is when the front teeth are involved and is acceptable if the biting forces are managed properly.

However, patients who suffer from bruxism (heavy teeth grinding) can cause overloading on their implants, leading to failure.

Usually, dentists will recommend loading the implant with a crown around 3 – 6 months after the surgery to make sure it has properly healed.

And if you do grind your teeth, you may be suggested to wear a mouthguard at night to prevent forces on the implant.


The Final Word

Hopefully, now you can understand a little more about some of the possible issues with poorly performed dental implant procedures.

But having said that, the risk of any of the above occurring is very very low.

All in all, dental implants are one of the best solutions for replacing missing teeth, and with proper care, they can last a lifetime.


For more information, please contact us today.

In the meantime, take a look at our Dental Implants treatment here.


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