Why do dental implants fail?

Are you planning on getting dental implants to replace your missing teeth? Good call! Dental implants are rapidly gaining popularity due to their durability, longevity, and aesthetic appearance.

Despite having a high success rate in the dental industry, failure of dental implants surfaces as a shortcoming. Here are a few reasons why your dental implant might have failed.

Problems During Surgery

This type of failure is mostly iatrogenic; meaning that it is caused by the lack of expertise of the dentist.

Traumatic surgeries that lead to poor wound healing may cause the implant to fail. Similarly, if the dental implant protrudes into the upper (maxillary) sinus, it may loosen and fall off. Sinus lifting is a procedure conducted to raise the level of the upper sinus wall so that it does not contact the dental implant.

The Periotest is a measure taken to check the osteointegration level of the implant during surgery. High Periotest values are also associated with the failure of dental implants.

Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis & Osteoporosis

Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Osteoporosis are a few conditions that interfere with wound healing. They may also disrupt the formation of new bone around the implant. This poses a great threat to the process of Osseointegration, the process by which the dental implant fuses with the bone.

Controlled diabetes usually does not affect Osseointegration. The same goes for other medical conditions as well.

It is also to be noted that certain medications such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) or medications used to treat heartburn disrupt the process of Osseointegration. Hence it is recommended that you provide a detailed medical history to your dentist before proceeding any further.


The contents of cigarettes, particularly Nicotine and Tobacco, act as vasoconstricting agents. This means that they reduce the blood flow to the gums which is necessary for wound healing and osseointegration of the dental implant.

This does not imply that smokers are not eligible for dental implants. Discontinuation of smoking 1 week before the dental implant placement is required, followed by another 2 months of discontinuation post-insertion.

Types Of Dental Implants

Types of implants do not have as much of an impact on the failure as long as they are widely accepted and made out of premium quality materials.

However, machined implant surfaces, moderately rough implant surfaces, and sintered porous surface implants demonstrate a higher failure rate according to the literature.

Gum Disease

Periodontitis is a condition associated with poor gum health and bone loss in the periodontium. Optimum bone levels in the oral cavity are crucial for the success of a dental implant.

Your dentist would measure your bone levels in the tooth-bearing area before proceeding further with the process. Adequate bone levels would determine your eligibility for dental implant placement.

Implant Instability Due To Immediate Load

In certain cases, your dentist may provide you with an immediate replacement of the missing tooth/teeth. This protocol is widely accepted and practiced because it provides the patient with the earliest possible rehabilitation of the missing tooth. However, if the patient fails to follow post-insertion instructions, it may lead to micro-movements in the implant region due to the ‘immediate load’.

Immediate load causes micro-movements in the implant region. This caters to a pathway for implant instability and hence failure.


Peri-implantitis is a condition in which the tissue around an implant becomes subject to inflammation. It is mostly caused by the accumulation of food particles in the implant region. Peri-implantitis provokes bone loss around the implant.

Poor Oral Hygiene And Compliance

Once your implant has been inserted and the tooth is replaced, your dentist would emphasize the need to maintain good oral hygiene and make regular visits for a routine check-up. Accumulation of food particles and debris in the implant region ignites the process of inflammation and may ultimately lead to implant failure. Failure to keep up with dental appointments may also lead to unprecedented events.

Maintaining excellent oral hygiene is mandatory for the success of a dental implant.

Allergic Reactions

Some people are allergic to certain metals, especially alloys. The Titanium alloy is one of the materials used to manufacture dental implants. Make sure to inform your dentist about any allergies to avoid the failure of dental implants.

In the end, the best tool for successful implant surgery is information. The more information your dentist can work with, the better the options he can offer for you to make sure your implant surgery is as successful as possible.

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