Reviewed by Dr. Benjamin Foley and Dr. Thao Le

Dental implants have revolutionized the world of dentistry, providing a permanent solution for missing teeth and improving oral health overall. At Foley & Le Oral Surgery, we take pride in offering our patients the best dental implant treatment options to restore their smiles.

However, as with any surgical procedure, there’s always a risk of complications and failure. In this blog, we’ll discuss dental implant failure, its causes, warning signs, and how it can be prevented and treated.

Table of Contents

What is Dental Implant Failure?

Dental implant failure occurs when the implant doesn’t hold or integrate properly with the jaw bone, resulting in a non-functional, unstable, or problematic dental implant. Dental implant failure is generally quite rare, with success rates as high as 95% to 98% in most cases.

There are two types of dental implant failure:

  1. Early implant failure: This happens within the first few months of the dental implant placement and is typically caused by the implant failing to integrate with the jaw bone or by complications during the healing process.
  2. Late implant failure: This occurs months or even years after the dental implant placement and is typically due to factors like smoking, poor hygiene, infection, jaw bone loss, or excessive force on the implant.
Key Takeaway

Dental implant failure occurs when the implant doesn’t hold or integrate properly with the jaw bone, resulting in a non-functional, unstable, or problematic dental implant. Signs of implant failure include severe pain around the implant site, swelling, inflammation, redness, loosening of the implant and receding gum recession around the implant.

Causes of Dental Implant Failure

Some common factors that can lead to dental implant failure include:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Insufficient bone density or quality
  • Medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disease)
  • Tobacco use
  • Bacterial infection (peri-implantitis)
  • Poor implant placement or positioning
  • Overloading or excessive force on the implant
  • Gum disease (periodontal disease)
  • Bruxism

Smoking and Dental Implant Failure

Smoking is a major risk factor when it comes to dental implant failure. Even light smoking after dental implant surgery can do a lot of harm. 

In a study, it was found that smokers had a higher implant failure rate (5.6%) compared to nonsmokers (3.5%). Out of 2,406 smokers, 135 experienced implant failure, while out of 5,259 nonsmokers, 185 experienced implant failure. This is because tobacco reduces blood flow to the gums, leading to slower healing times and an increased risk of infection or complications during surgery.

If you’re considering getting dental implants, it’s important to quit smoking before the procedure. Doing so will help your body heal properly and reduce the risk of implant failure. For more information about the effects of smoking on dental implants, read The Impact of Smoking on Dental Implants: Why Quitting Is Essential

Warning Signs of Dental Implant Failure

While dental implant failure is not very common, it’s essential to remain vigilant and monitor your implant for any signs of problems. Common warning signs of dental implant failure include:

  • Severe pain or discomfort around the implant site
  • Swelling, inflammation, or redness
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Loosening or shifting of the implant
  • Gum recession around the dental implant

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to contact us immediately to determine the cause and discuss treatment options.

Prevention and Treatment of Dental Implant Failure

To reduce the risk of dental implant failure, you must follow proper oral hygiene practices, attend regular dental check-ups, and refrain from smoking. In addition, it’s essential to choose an experienced and skilled implant dentist for the implant procedure to ensure successful placement.

At Foley & Le Oral Surgery, our skilled implant specialists, Dr. B. Foley, Dr. D. Foley and Dr. T. Le, are highly experienced in implant placement and ensure success by using the latest techniques, technology, and materials.

If dental implant failure does occur, the treatment plan will depend on the cause of the failure. Some common treatment options include:

  • Medication (e.g., antibiotics for infection)
  • Bone graft (to improve bone quality and support implant)
  • Implant removal and replacement 
  • Addressing underlying medical conditions or habits that contribute to failure

In some cases, dental implant removal might be required, followed by a period of healing before a new implant can be placed.

Dental Implants Boulder

At Foley & Le Oral Surgery & Dental Implants, our team is dedicated to providing patients with the highest quality dental implant procedures and care. We understand the value of a healthy, functional, and beautiful smile, and we’re committed to helping our patients achieve this through personalized treatment plans.

If you’re considering dental implants or experiencing issues with your current implant, don’t hesitate to contact us today. If you are searching for the ‘best dental implants in near me’, call (303) 444-2255 or complete the online booking form.

We look forward to helping you restore and maintain your beautiful smile!

FAQs About Dental Implant Failure

What Are the Most Common Causes of Dental Implant Failure?

The most common causes of dental implant failure include poor oral hygiene, infection, inadequate bone density or quality, medical conditions, tobacco use, and poor implant placement or positioning.

Can a Failed Implant Be Saved?

In some cases, a failed implant can be saved. Depending on the circumstances and cause of failure, a dentist may be able to repair or replace the implant or attempt to salvage it by treating any infections that have occurred.

What Is the Danger of Implant Failure?

If an implant fails, it can lead to infection or further damage to adjacent teeth, gums, and bone. Failed implants may also cause more serious issues such as jaw bone loss and damage.

If you are searching for the best dental implants near me, trust the experts at Foley & Le.

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