Understanding Dental Implant Failure: Recognizing and Addressing the Issue

October 4, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Owen @ 5:31 pm
a closeup of dental implants

When it comes to replacing missing teeth, dental implants are the name of the game! These innovative posts have completely revolutionized how dentists approach tooth replacement; after being placed, they’re capable of restoring teeth in terms of look, feel, and functionality. But despite an impressive 95% success rate, which holds true even after decades, dental implants are still susceptible to issues that might cause them to ultimately fail. That said, if you have dental implants yourself, how are you supposed to know if one’s in jeopardy? Here’s what your dentist wants you to know!

What Is Dental Implant Failure?

As the name implies, dental implant failure refers to when a dental implant is no longer able to function as intended within the mouth. A dental implant has three primary components:

  • The posts, which are often made from titanium since it’s a biocompatible material. They’re surgically embedded directly into the patient’s jawbone, where they fuse with the bone matter over time.
  • The attachment pieces, which are called abutments and are placed on top of the posts.
  • The replacement teeth, which include a customized dental restoration designed specifically for the patient’s smile that’s connected to the top of the abutments.

If just one of these parts becomes loose, broken, damaged, or compromised in some other way, dental implant failure becomes a very real possibility.

What Causes Dental Implant Failure?

Dental implant failure is often categorized into two types: early failure, which occurs within the first few months of the procedure, and late failure, which might not develop until years after the implants are placed. Early failure most often occurs if osseointegration, the process by which the implant posts fuse with the patient’s jawbone, doesn’t happen as intended. This process normally takes three to six months to complete, but if the bone doesn’t grow properly around the implant post, the implant won’t remain sturdily in place.

Certain habits and medical conditions have also been known to heighten the risk of implant failure, especially after the implants have been placed. Gum disease is perhaps the largest looming threat, often resulting from chronically poor oral hygiene, but aside from that, conditions like bruxism (teeth grinding) can also cause implant failure. Additionally, systematic diseases like osteoporosis can also affect bone density, which threatens the stability of the implants.

What Are Some Early Signs of Dental Implant Failure?

Dental implant failure is not an issue that will resolve itself; professional intervention is always going to be necessary. Your dentist can quickly inspect your mouth, take X-rays if needed, and identify if there’s any sort of problem with your dental implant. That said, here are some signs that usually indicate there’s an issue:

  • You’re experiencing oral discomfort or pain that worsens several weeks following the procedure.
  • There’s swelling or redness around the implant site—this might indicate an infection is present.
  • The implant seems to move around or feels loose.
  • You’re noticing gum recession around the implant site.
  • You’re experiencing changes in your bite pattern or oral functionality.
  • You have chronic bad breath or a foul taste in your mouth.

About the Practice

The talented team at PeaksView Dental has proudly served patients and families in the Bedford, VA community for several years. The practice is thrilled to offer a wide range of preventive, cosmetic, and restorative services including life-changing treatments like dental implants! If you have any questions about dental implants or suspect that one of yours might be failing, don’t hesitate to contact the practice online or over the phone for additional information or to schedule a visit. Telephone: (540) 586-8106.