Common Causes of a Failed Dental Implant

BY: Dr. Sandeep Sharma
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patient holding mirror looking at teeth procedure after caries infection

Common Causes of a Failed Dental Implant

Natural teeth can fail for many reasons: decay, severe gum disease, and trauma are all common causes. But in the case of failed dental implants, what could have possibly gone wrong, and what can you do about it?

In this post, we’ll discuss the most common causes of dental implant failure and what steps you can take to prevent the situation. Keep reading to learn more!

What Causes Dental Implants to Fail?

When it comes to artificial tooth replacement options, dental implants are a welcome alternative to dental bridges and dentures. But while they are considered a relatively successful procedure to replace missing teeth due to tooth loss, it’s important to realise that they’re not without complications and problems. In fact, the failure rate for dental implants is estimated to be anywhere from 5 to 10 per cent.

One of the most common causes of a failed dental implant is gum or periodontal disease. Peri-implant disease can happen when bacteria get underneath the gum line and causes an infection. If the bacterial infection isn’t treated, it can eventually lead to poor dental health, bone loss, and implant failure.

There are several factors to consider as well. Other causes of dental implant failure include:

  • Poor oral hygiene:
    If you don’t take care of your teeth properly and have existing dental issues, it can increase your risk of implant failure. Be sure to brush, and floss regularly, and see your dentist for regular cleanings.

  • Smoking:
    Smoking cigarettes can decrease blood flow to the gums and make it more difficult for the body to heal after surgery. It’s also thought to increase the risk of developing gum disease. If you smoke, it’s important to quit before having dental implant surgery.

  • Medical conditions:
    Certain health conditions, such as diabetes and autoimmune diseases, are risk factors for implant failure. They can make the healing process more difficult after surgery. Talk to your doctor about any health issues you have before implant surgery.

  • Trauma:
    If you have an injury to the mouth or jaw bone, it can affect the success of dental implants. Be sure to tell your dentist about any injuries you’ve had before implant surgery. The same is true for teeth-grinding and clenching habits, as they place excessive stress on the implant.

  • Inadequate bone support:
    Sufficient bone strength and density are necessary for a dental implant to succeed. Additional treatments may be necessary if there isn’t enough healthy bone in the jaw to support a dental implant. These treatments can include bone grafts or sinus lifts.

  • Improper placement:
    Implants must be placed in the jaw bone at the correct angle and depth. If dental implant placement is not done correctly, they may fail. Poor placement of the implant, or malpositioned implants, may cause tissue damage and harm adjacent teeth.

While the implant success rate is high, there is a small chance that they could fail. Talk to your dentist about any concerns you have, and follow all instructions for taking care of your teeth after surgery.

Which Oral Site Is More Prone to Dental Implant Failure?

According to a retrospective clinical study published in the Maxillofacial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal, one oral site more prone to dental implant failure is the maxillary molar area. This is followed by the mandibular molar, anterior maxilla, and premolar areas. All these oral sites have different causes that lead to different dental implant problems.

The most common oral site of failed dental implants is the maxillary molar area. The common cause is due to the anatomic limitations in this region.

The second oral site is the mandibular molar area. This is because the buccal cortical plate is thinner in this region than in any other oral site.

The final two oral sites are the anterior maxilla and premolar areas. These areas are less prone to dental implant failure due to the thicker cortical plates in both regions. However, there are still cases where these oral sites fail due to various causes.

What Are the Signs of Dental Implant Failure That I Should Watch Out For?

Among the many treatment options available, dental implants are a popular solution for missing teeth, but they’re not without risks. While dental implants are typically successful, there is a small chance of implant failure. To help you know what to look for, here are five signs of dental implant failure:

  1. Persistent pain:
    If you have dental implants, you may experience some soreness and tenderness in the days and weeks after surgery. However, if the pain persists or gets worse, it could be a sign of implant failure.

  2. Swelling:
    A small amount of swelling is normal after dental implant surgery, but if the swelling persists or becomes worse, it could be a sign of infection or an allergic reaction to the titanium implant.

  3. Loose implant:
    If you can wiggle your dental implant or it feels loose, then it has probably failed to osseointegrate with the bone. Your dentist will do an X-ray to check for bone growth.

  4. Change in gum colour:
    If the gum tissue around your dental implant is beginning to turn red or purple, it could be a sign of infection.

  5. Implant extrusion:
    In rare cases, the entire dental implant may slowly push through the gum tissue. This typically happens if there was insufficient bone density around the implant and the bone was not strong enough to support it or if there was insufficient soft tissue around the implant site.

If you experience any of these signs, please contact your dentist or oral surgeon immediately. They can determine whether or not your dental implant has failed and recommend treatment accordingly.

How Will My Dentist Address Dental Implant Failure?

If you have a failed dental implant, your dentist will first determine the cause of the failure. Once the cause is determined, your dentist will develop a treatment plan to address the problem. This may involve removing the failed implant and replacing it with a new one or additional procedures to improve bone support or reduce infection.

Sometimes, it may be possible to save a failed implant with treatment. However, this is often not the case, and implants that have failed are usually replaced.

dentist looking her old patient with tools

What Steps Should I Take To Prevent Dental Implant Failure?

Once you’ve decided to get dental implants as replacement teeth, there are steps you can take to make sure they’re successful. Tooth implants have high success and survival rates but they can still fail. Here are five tips to prevent dental implant failure:

  1. Quit smoking:
    Smoking and the use of tobacco products have been shown to prevent or delay osseointegration and increase the risk of implant failure. If you smoke, quitting is the right thing you can do for your dental implants.

  2. Follow oral hygiene instructions:
    Keeping your mouth clean is essential for preventing infection and other problems. Be sure to brush and floss twice a day and see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.

  3. Choose an experienced implant dentist:
    The success of your dental implants depends in part on the dentist who places them. Make sure you choose an experienced implant dentist with ample training and experience. An inexperienced dentist can only do more harm than good.

  4. Eat a healthy diet:
    A healthy diet is important for overall health, especially if you have dental implants. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help promote oral health. Once you’ve decided to get dental implants, there are steps you can take for successful results.

  5. Avoid hard foods:
    Hard foods can damage your implants, so it is important to avoid them. Stick to soft foods for at least the first few weeks after surgery, then slowly start reintroducing harder foods back into your diet as directed by your dentist.

Following these steps can help prevent dental implant problems and enjoy your new smile for many years!

Final Thoughts

Dental implants can be a great way to replace missing teeth, but it is important to take proper care of them to remain healthy and functional. While they are designed to be strong and durable, dental implant problems can still happen.

There are many causes of dental implant failure. It’s important to be aware of them to avoid the hassle of dealing with failed dental implants. Following your dentist’s instructions, having a proper oral hygiene routine, and avoiding hard foods are key steps in caring for your implants.

If you have issues with your dental implants or have questions about them, please don’t hesitate to contact our dental office. Clear Choice Dental offers comprehensive implant dentistry services, so book an appointment online or call us today to get started on restoring your smile! Our team of dental professionals will be very happy to provide you with the dental care that you deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s important to note that everyone experiences pain differently, and what may be severe pain for one person may only be mild discomfort for another. With that said, dental implants are generally not considered to be overly painful.

The dental implant procedure is typically done under anesthesia, so you shouldn’t feel any pain during the surgery. After placing the metal implant post, you may experience some discomfort and swelling. This can usually be controlled with over-the-counter pain medication.

In short, dental implants may not be entirely pain-free, but most patients only report mild discomfort after the dental procedure.

Aside from bacteria, dental cement can also cause infection. A dental implant-related infection typically presents as:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain at the site of the implant
  • Fever
  • Pus drainage from around the implant
  • Tenderness to touch

If you experience symptoms like these after your procedure, you must contact your dentist immediately so they can take the appropriate steps to address the infection.

Peri-implantitis is a form of gum disease that can cause inflammation, gum recession, and subsequent bone loss. However, this type of infection can be managed through careful treatment planning and execution. This may include scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar around the implant, antibiotics to clear any infection, application of antiseptic solutions, or surgical intervention such as bone grafting.

Your dentist will tailor a treatment plan to manage your condition and improve your oral health. It is important to follow their instructions for a successful outcome.

Most Australian health funds will cover some, but not all types of dental implants. To find out if your health fund covers the type of implant you require, read through your policy or contact them directly for more information.

Each health fund has different requirements which must be met before they approve payments for implants, so it is important to clarify your coverage before proceeding with the procedure.

Sometimes, you may need to pay an up-front fee and submit a claim afterwards to receive a refund from your health fund. Additionally, some health funds offer discounts on implant treatment procedures if a particular dental provider does them.

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