What are the signs of dental implants failure? Which factors impact the failure rate?

Nichole McKenna

Written by Nichole McKenna DDS, Richard Hattaway DDS, Benjamin Wang DDS

According to statistics, only 1 in 20 patients experience dental implant failure. Though chances are very low, this could happen to you.

Patients can significantly minimize the risk of a failed implant. It's essential to be aware of alarming symptoms and how to react to avoid the worst scenario. Don't wait for the problem; always be prepared.

Dental implant failure causes

Dental implant vs. natural tooth

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

  • EARLY

  • Infection

  • Micro-movements

  • Sub-optimal implant positioning

  • Insufficient bone support

  • Allergic reaction

  • Lack of adherence to post-op instructions

  • Complications after immediate loading

  • LATE

  • Infection

  • Nerve or tissue damage

  • Dental implant rejection

  • Protruding into the sinus cavity

  • Injury

Nichole McKenna

Nichole McKenna, DDS

Some providers are unwilling to place implants in smokers due to this unacceptably high rate of failure.

Signs of dental implant failure

Failed dental implant options

Different parts of dental implant

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

FAQ

The dental implant failure rate is about 5%.

While looking at failed dental implant pictures may discourage you from the procedure, keep in mind these are only 5 out of 100 cases. Moreover, failures are usually caused by patient-oriented factors. Following aftercare instructions significantly lowers the risk.

It depends on how much bone is left in the jaw and how much was removed. Usually, early failures can simply be unscrewed without any damage. In these cases, implants can often be replaced immediately.

If there was bone loss while the implant was still in place or if much was removed, you might require grafting. That includes several months of healing before a new rod can be inserted.

Whether an implant can be replaced at all depends on the reason it failed in the first place. In cases such as allergic reactions, implants made of different materials can usually be installed. If there was severe infection due to patient-oriented risk factors such as smoking or a history of periodontitis, it might not be possible.

It is up to the dentist to decide whether the patient is a good candidate for replacement.

You may be entitled to a refund only if the cause of failure had something to do with malpractice or a mistake on the part of the implantologist. Most often, though, the reason is patients smoking or not conducting proper oral hygiene.

The best way to prevent failure of a dental implant is to plan the treatment out properly. In order for your dentist to be able to do that, you must be completely honest about your condition. Let him or her know about your full medical history, habits, and any medication you are taking.

Stick to proper aftercare after your initial surgery. When your implant is in place, practice excellent oral hygiene. Brush and floss your teeth, ideally after every meal. Use mouthwash to rinse out any food debris and keep your breath fresh. See your dentist for routine exams.

References

  1. Osseointegration - NCBI
  2. Bruxism: A Literature Review - NCBI
  3. Smoking and dental implants - JISPCD
  4. Failures in implant dentistry - Nature
  5. Antidepressants linked to tooth implant failure, new study finds - Buffalo
  6. Dealing With Dental Implant Failures - NCBI