What You Need to Know About Dental Implant Failure

What You Need to Know About Dental Implant Failure By Dr. Jon ( Junyi ) Ho | November 15, 2022

Dental implants are one of the most popular tooth replacement options available today. This is because they offer many advantages over other options, including durability and stability. However, while they are very effective, there is a small chance that they may fail, just like any other medical procedure.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what causes implant failure and what you can do if your implant fails. We’ll also explore some of the signs that your implant may be failing.

So, if you’re considering getting dental implants, read this post first!

dentist showing how to brush your teeth on jaws model to patient in dental clinic

What Is Dental Implant Failure?

Dental implants are replacement teeth. They are artificial substitutes for natural teeth. They’re usually made from titanium alloy, and the metal implant post is inserted into the jaw bone to fuse with the bone and act as a new root for the artificial tooth. In other words, the titanium implant screw act as a base for dental crowns, bridges or dentures.

Dental implant failure happens when a dental implant does not successfully fuse to the jawbone. This can happen due to several reasons.

When dental implant failure occurs, it is important to seek treatment right away. If not addressed soon, dental implant failure can lead to further bone loss and, eventually, the loss of the implant and remaining natural teeth.

Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth, but it is important to know the risk factors and their potential for dental implant failure. Talk to your dentist if you have any concerns about your dental implants.

What Are the Possible Causes of Dental Implant Failure?

Dental implants are effective in replacing missing teeth. However, they are not without risk. Dental implant failure can occur for a variety of reasons, including:

Bone Loss

When a tooth is removed, the bone surrounding it loses stimulation. This can cause the jawbone to shrink over time. If dental implants are not placed soon after tooth loss, bone loss can make it difficult for the implants to take hold.


Infection is another possible cause of dental implant failure. The mouth is full of bacteria, and when dental implants are placed, these bacteria can enter the wound and cause an infection.

Peri-implant diseases are infections that occur around the dental implant. These infections can cause the gum tissue to become inflamed and can even lead to bone loss. In some cases, peri-implant disease can worsen and lead to life-threatening infections.

To prevent these, it’s important to maintain the area around the implant clean and to follow your dentist’s instructions about proper care after surgery.

Damage to Adjacent Teeth

Damage to the surrounding teeth is another potential cause of dental implant failure. When dental implants are placed, they must be done carefully to avoid damaging the adjacent teeth. Otherwise, the adjacent teeth can become loose and eventually fall out. This can then create gaps in the mouth, leading to further tooth loss and instability in the dental implants.

Failure to Fuse

During the osseointegration stage of the dental implant process, the implant fuses to the bone for improved stability. If you have insufficient bone or the implant is disturbed during the healing period, it will not fuse with the bone and lead to failure.

Implant Quality

Dental implants can fail if they are not made from high-quality materials. If dental implants are made from inferior materials, they may break down over time and need to be replaced.

Poor Oral Health

If you have poor oral health, it can affect the success of dental implants. Tooth decay and gum disease increase the bacterial load in the mouth, which may affect the bone and gums surrounding the implant and cause implant failure.

Poor Implant Care

Dental implants can become loose and eventually fall out if not cared for properly. Brushing and flossing regularly is essential to keeping dental implants clean and free of plaque and tartar.

In addition, it is important to see a dental specialist or oral surgeon for regular checkups and cleanings to catch dental failure and gum disease (or periodontal disease) early on.

While dental implants are typically a successful tooth replacement option, it is important to be aware of the potential causes of dental implant failure. Ask your dentist about implant failure during implant consultation. Understanding the causes of dental implant failure can help reduce your risk of experiencing this complication and ensure a successful procedure.

What Are the Signs of Dental Implant Failure?

Dental implant failure can occur for many reasons. The most common signs and symptoms of dental implant failure include the following:

  • Bone loss around the implant: If you notice that the bone surrounding the implant is already starting to recede, this could be a sign of the bone around the implant deteriorating. Over time, this can cause the implant to become loose and eventually fail.

  • Natural teeth become loose: If dental implants are not placed correctly, they can put unnecessary stress on nearby teeth. This can cause natural teeth to become loose or even fall out.

  • Jaw bone becomes weak: Extensive bone loss around dental implants can weaken the jaw bone and make it difficult to chew or speak properly. In severe cases, the jaw bone may even collapse. Insufficient bone strength can lead to implant failure.

  • Dental implant moves: Implants that don’t fuse with the jawbone are more likely to move as they fail to achieve a stable foundation in the bone. With continuous movement, these implants may eventually fall out.

  • Gum recession: The gums follow the form of the bone. If you notice your gums starting to pull away from your implant and expose the metal base, this is a sign that the attachment between the implant and the bone is failing and starting to break down.

  • Infection develops: Severe pain, swelling, drainage, and fever are signs of an infection. If left unaddressed, it can lead to the death of bone tissue and failure of the dental implant.

Dental implant failure is a serious complication that should be taken seriously by both patients and dental professionals alike.

While dental implants are generally a successful treatment option for missing teeth, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of dental implant failure so that treatment can be started as soon as possible.

With prompt treatment, dental implants can usually be saved to allow patients to enjoy many years with their new teeth.

How Do You Deal With Dental Implant Failure?

If you think you may be experiencing dental implant failure, here are five tips on what to do:

  1. Consult with your dental implant surgeon. They can diagnose the problem and recommend the ideal course of treatment.
  2. Take steps to protect your remaining teeth. This may include wearing a dental appliance or avoiding chewing on hard foods.
  3. In some cases, dental implants may need to be removed. This is typically only done if implant failure is severe and other treatment options are not effective.
  4. Make sure to practice good oral hygiene habits. This includes brushing and flossing regularly and seeing your dentist for regular checkups.

Final Thoughts

Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth, but like any other type of surgery, there is always a risk of failure. Dental implant failure can be an alarming experience, but it’s important to have a clear understanding of what to do if it happens.

At Darch Dental Centre, we want our patients to feel confident in their choice of treatment, so we encourage everyone interested in dental implants to visit our website or call us to book an appointment. Our team will be happy to answer any questions and help you make the right decision for your oral and dental health. Thanks for reading!

Frequently Asked questions

Bruxism is a condition that causes people to grind or clench their teeth. This puts extra stress on the implant, leading to bone loss around the implant site.

Over time, this extra stress from bruxism can cause dental implant failure. If you have dental implants, talk to your implant dentist about ways to prevent bruxism, such as wearing a mouthguard at night.

The cost of dental implants varies depending on the type of implant, the number of implants needed, and the complexity of the dental implant procedure.

On average, dental implants can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000. This may increase depending on several factors, including the number of implants needed and additional procedures if needed.

Although dental implants are often considered a more expensive option, they can provide many benefits that make them worth the extra cost.

It is possible to fix dental implants that have failed. In most cases, the dental implant can be removed and replaced with a new one.

In some cases, bone grafting may be necessary to restore the jaw bone to its original height. This will help to provide the dental implant with a strong foundation to attach to.

Ultimately, whether or not you can fix dental implants will depend on the specific situation. However, in many cases, it is possible to successfully perform implant restoration and address dental implant failure.

Dental implants are considered one of the most successful dental procedures, with high survival rates. They are considered successful if they remain securely in place for a period of five years or more.

According to a study published in the Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry, the success rate for dental implants is between 90-95%. For every 100 dental implant surgeries, anywhere from 9 to 5 patients may experience dental implant failure.

Several factors can affect the success of dental implants. These include:

  • The condition of the jawbone: Adequate bone density is essential to the success of dental implant therapy. If the jawbone has been damaged or is not strong enough to support an implant, it may need to be augmented with bone grafts before dental implants can be placed.  Additionally, people with dental implants in the past, or those with osteoporosis, may be at risk for bone loss around the implant site, which can lead to implant failure.

  • The number of natural teeth remaining: People who still have most of their natural teeth are generally better candidates for dental implants than those who have lost all or most of their teeth. This is because there needs to be enough healthy bone to support the dental implants, and there also needs to be enough space between the teeth for the implants to be placed.

  • Lifestyle choices: People who smoke or use tobacco products are at higher risk for dental implant failure than those who do not smoke. Patients with diabetes mellitus or medical conditions, such as autoimmune diseases or cancer, may also be more likely to experience dental implant failure. Smoking, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders can delay the healing process.

  • Patient’s commitment to the implant treatment plan: People who are not willing to follow the instructions of their dental care team or who do not take good care of their teeth may be more likely to experience dental implant failure.

  • Poor treatment planning: If the dental implants are not placed in the correct position, they may fail. Additionally, if the teeth surrounding the implants are not properly prepared, this can also lead to implant failure. This is why it’s important to have an implant surgeon who is experienced and skilled.

Dr. Jon ( Junyi ) Ho

Dr. Jon is a Perth-based dentist who graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Science in 2005 from the University of Western Australia. He has worked at a range of dental practices, including being a partner and principal dentist for a group of five dental surgeries in Sydney. Dr. Jon has been practising for over a decade in the northern suburbs of Perth. He provides treatment for patients in Darch, Madeley, Landsdale, Kingsway, Kingsley, Marangaroo, Alexander Heights, Wangara, Ellenbrook, and others.

Related Blogs

The Components of a Dental Implant: What You Need to Know

We all want beautiful smiles, which is why dental implants are slowly becoming one of the most popular options for those looking to replace missing teeth. But what are dental implants, and how do they work? In this blog post, we'll break down the different components of a dental implant...

Can Your Health Fund Cover Your Dental Implant?

Dental implants are an innovative technology that involves placing titanium posts that act as artificial tooth roots into the jaw bone. They serve as a foundation for replacement teeth, ideal for those seeking a way to fill gaps and help prevent bone loss. However, dental implants do not come cheap....

What to Eat After a Dental Implant Procedure

Having just gotten a dental implant to replace a missing tooth, you may be wondering if you'll have to make any changes to your diet. It's normal to ask yourself this question. After all, dental implants are a costly investment, and you would want to make sure they last for...