7 Factors That Cause A Dental Implant Failure?
Whether you need to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth, dental implants can give you a beautiful, natural smile while enhancing the quality of your life. The procedure can also have a truly exceptional track record of success when done properly. However, some factors can cause dental implant failure. And although it is rare, when it happens, it can cause severe discomfort, and even lead to further complications.
What Are The Signs of Dental Implant Failure?
There are three common signs that indicate an implant has failed:
- Severe pain or discomfort
- Swelling or inflammation of the gums
- The implant becomes loose or moves in the mouth
A dental implant can fail due to a variety of reasons, including the general health factors of the patient, the standard of post-procedure care and the skill and competence of the dentist.
Below are 7 of the main reasons why a dental implant can fail:
#1 Misalignment of The Implant:
One of the challenging aspects of implant dentistry is positioning the implant so that it’s fully surrounded by bone. Sometimes the ideal position in the bone is not the ideal position for the implant. So the implant and the bone can end up misaligned. When the implant doesn’t align with the bone, the crowns can look unnatural, gums can recede and the dark grey metal of the implant is visible around the gum.
Rectifying implants that are positioned in the wrong place can be tricky. The removal process can damage the bone and the adjacent teeth. Which is why it is so important to get it right the first time. And so is choosing a dentist with the knowledge and experience to deliver the best results.
#2 Poorly Taken Impressions
Impressions are moulded by the dentist and sent to a laboratory for the crowns to be made. If the impressions are not precise the replacement teeth may not fit properly. Just a subtle misfit can result in a gap between the crown and the gum, enough to compromise the look and function of the teeth. This can allow bacteria in to the gums and eventually lead to infection. An infection can be treated, but might require the implant to be replaced. Essentially doubling the cost of the treatment.
Another factor is the cement that binds the new dental crown onto the implant post, which can also cause an infection if it leaks onto the gums. This is why the skill of the implant dentist is so important. They must be comfortable to perform the procedure accurately under high magnification, which in turn, lessens any possibility of gaps or mistakes.
#3 Peri-Implantitis And Other Infections
Peri-implantitis is one of the main causes of dental implant failure. There is some debate about whether it should be classified as a disease, or as a complication due to a foreign body being placed in the oral cavity. Regardless, an inflammatory response can sometimes occur shortly after the procedure is completed, caused by a formation of bacteria in the mouth.
Peri-implantitis can damage both the gum and bone that surrounds the implant, and potentially lead to subsequent bone loss or implant failure. While the condition can be treated, more often than not, the implant will need to be replaced. Those most susceptible to bacterial infection or peri-implantitis are patients with diabetes, smokers and those with bad oral hygiene.
#4 Failed Osseointegration
Osseointegration is a term used to describe the development of the structural link between the bone and the newly inserted titanium implant. This process normally takes a few weeks to several months to happen.
Occasionally the implant doesn’t fully merge with the jawbone. This can leave the implant loose, or could even fall out. The main reason for this is insufficient bone for the implant to insert into.
Bone density and the overall health of your bone is an important consideration when it comes to implant dentistry. An evaluation of the health of your bone is something your implant dentist will do before the procedure. If there is insufficient bone, a bone graft or sinus lift procedure is an option, to recreate the correct conditions for the implants to be inserted.
#5 Nerve Damage
While nerve damage is rare, it can happen when an implant is fixed too close to the nerves that surround the mouth. Incidence of this is more common with inexperienced dental implant dentists, or when the dentist doesn’t use treatment planning as part of their practice. A treatment plan is what helps the dentist to identify all of the factors that could impact the implant procedure, such as identifying the ideal placement of the implant in relation to the critical structures and nerves in the mouth.
Nerve damage is normally indicated when there is numbness, lingering pain or a tingling feeling around the gums, lips, cheek or tongue.
#6 Failure of The Implant Itself
Despite being made of a strong metal, it is possible for the metal implant post to become loose. When the implant post becomes loose, the movement can cause the implant to fracture.
Thanks to the advancements in implant technology, this happens less today, however failure can still happen. Particularly with low cost providers and overseas laboratories, who may use inferior materials, leading to complications with the size and fit, which will compromise the stability of the implant.
You want to ensure that your implant dentist is using materials that meet the Australian consumer safety regulations, to ensure a quality treatment, and reduce the chances of implant failure.
#7 Foreign body rejection and Allergic reaction
The Australian Dental Association states that whenever something foreign is put into your body, there is a chance of side effects. Dental implants and other materials used for the implant procedure may cause a localised reaction. In order to make sure the best materials for your treatment, dentist should check whether you have any allergies.
What To Do If You Suspect A Failed Dental Implant?
Firstly, if you are experiencing an infection such as peri-implantitis after your dental implant procedure, it’s possible to treat the infection without having to remove the implant. Inflammation is usually treated with thorough cleaning. The earlier the problem is detected, the better chance there is of treating the problem.
If there is damage to the bone around the implant, this can also be treated. But treatment involves removing the bone and then performing a bone graft so that the implant can be correctly inserted back.
Depending on the level of damage, the crown and implant may need to be removed. Rectifying failed implants can be tricky. The removal process can damage the bone and the adjacent teeth. Getting it right first time is very important, and so is choosing a specialised dentist that has all the skills and experience to achieve the best results.
Are You Ready To Make The Next Step?
No matter where you chose to have your dental implant procedure performed, it’s important that you know about the risks, and that your chosen dentist has skills and experience to minimise the risks while ensuring a worthwhile investment in your dental health.
At Bexley Dental, our principal dentist, Dr Theo Spyrakis, has been practising dentistry for the past 26 years. Since 2006, he has travelled the world, studying with Implant Dentistry’s most respected clinicians, including Professor Paolo Malo, of the world renowned Malo Clinic in Portugal, the founder of the All-On-4 technique.
Today, Dr Spyrakis is one of the most experienced dental implant and All on 4 dentists in Sydney. He performs over 500 implant procedures each year. His experience in implant dentistry has taught him what can go wrong in the procedure, how to minimise the risks, and how to execute the procedure to the highest standards.
Implant dentistry isn’t just an aside service offered by Dr Spyrakis, but a field of dentistry that he has dedicated his dental career to. This is why Dr Spyrakis is often approached by patients to fix dental treatments and failed implants, which were carried out by other dentists.
If you are interested in having dental implants, or if you suspect a failed dental implant, you can book a free dental implant assessment at our practice in Bexley and speak to Dr Spyrakis in person. Just call us on
(02) 9567 4151 to schedule your free implant assessment.
You can also take our free online suitability quiz. Answer just a few short questions and find out if you are suitable for the implant procedure.