What Can Cause a Dental Implant to Fail?

Posted by Dr. Michael Choi on Oct 29 2018, 08:33 AM

There are a variety of things that can lead to a failed dental implant. These devices are the best way to replace a missing tooth, and the rate of success is around 95 percent. Implants mimic the behavior of your natural teeth and their roots, helping you regain full functionality of any missing teeth while avoiding the bone tissue loss that occurs when a tooth and its root is missing.

How dental implants work

During the procedure, a metal screw is surgically inserted into the patient's jawbone. This rod is often made out of titanium, but other materials like zirconium are sometimes used. The screw is the implant. Once it is securely fused with the patient's jawbone tissue (which normally takes three to six months), a crown is attached to a post on the external-facing end.

Dental implants are often the preferred way to replace missing teeth, given the many benefits like:

  • It can last an entire lifetime with good oral hygiene
  • Implants look and feel just like natural teeth
  • Implants do not require specialized cleaning
  • It prevents the loss of bone tissue
  • It prevents teeth from shifting to fill up gaps

What leads to failed dental implants?

Unfortunately, about 5 percent of people who get implants end up dealing with complications. The most common reason issues arise is the patient failing to practice good oral hygiene. Common symptoms of failed dental implants include:

  • Feeling discomfort and pain originating from the area around the implant
  • Inflammation and swelling of the gum tissue around the implant
  • The implant becomes loose

Now, let us take a look at a few reasons implants fail:

1. Infection

An infection is one of the common factors that leads to a failed dental implant. The area around the implant can become infected during or after the surgical installation of the metal screw. The dental cement used to attach the crown to the post on the external-facing side of the implant can also lead to an infection if it leaks into the gums.

An infection affects the soft and hard tissues around the implant, and the deterioration of these areas can lead to the implant becoming loose. Poor oral hygiene also increases the odds of contracting an infection.

2. Poor osseointegration

The development of a structural connection between an implant and the patient's bone tissue is known as osseointegration. It typically takes several months after the implant is inserted before a secure bond is created. If a patient's bone tissue fails to securely bond with an implant, it will eventually become loose or even fall out. That is why dentists conduct a thorough examination before installing implants to ensure the patient has enough healthy bone tissue.

3. Tissue and nerve damage

While this is extremely rare, it is possible for an implant to be placed too close to a nerve. When this happens, the patient will experience numbness and pain in their tongue, gums, cheek and lips. This type of failed implant is typically caused by an incompetent or inexperienced dentist.


Want to learn more about dental implants? Schedule an appointment with one of our dentists today!


Request an appointment in our Irvine dentist office here: https://www.implantdentistirvine.com.

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