Dentists often use implants to replace missing teeth and give patients an improved and more complete smile, but they also come with the risk of being unsuccessful.

Wondering why some implants fail and how you can increase your chances of success? In this blog post, we will delve into why dental implants may fail, what factors contribute to those failures, and the steps you can take to reduce the risks associated with them. Keep reading for valuable information about protecting yourself from implant failure!

Dentalcare of Forrestfield

Dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth, but like any surgical procedure, they can experience failure. There are two main types of implant failure: early failure and late failure.

  • Early Implant Failure
    Early implant failure occurs within the first few months after the dental implant is placed. It refers to the inability of the implant to integrate with the jawbone. Early failure can be identified by pain or swelling in the implant area and can usually be addressed with revisions or additional surgeries.

  • Late Implant Failure
    Late failure, also known as secondary failure, occurs after the implant has integrated with the surrounding bone and the restoration (crown, bridge, denture) has been placed. This is usually caused by a bacterial infection or lack of proper maintenance by the patient.

Overall, dental implants are usually successful. But like other dental procedures, there is a potential for complications that could lead to early or late implant failure. To ensure the successful integration of your dental implants, you must maintain good oral hygiene practices such as brushing twice daily and flossing regularly, in addition to visiting your dentist every six months for cleanings and checkups.

What Causes Early Implant Failure?

With early implant failure, the most common causes include infection, improper implant placement, or a lack of integration between the bone and the titanium screw. 

  • Infection is usually caused by poor oral hygiene. Bacteria from dental plaque enter the wound area and causes an infection. In patients with pre-existing medical conditions, healing is slower. This increases the risk of infection as the wound remains open and exposed to the oral cavity for a longer time.

  • Inadequate placement occurs when an inexperienced dentist installs an implant too close to a nerve or sinus cavity, which can cause severe pain and discomfort during healing.

  • If insufficient bone is present, the titanium screw will not fuse properly with the jawbone causing early implant failure. Sufficient and good-quality bone is essential to implant success rate. 

What Causes Late Implant Failure?

Late implant failure is associated with retained subgingival dental cement and traumatic occlusion. Smoking and poor oral hygiene also contribute to late implant failure.

  • Subgingival Dental Cement:
    Dental cement is used to secure dental implants in place. However, if excess cement is not removed, it can lodge below the gums and lead to inflammation and infection around the implant. If not addressed immediately, this may lead to implant failure.

  • Traumatic Occlusion:
    If the implant is not properly aligned with the remaining teeth or if the prosthesis is too thick and the normal bite of the patient is not restored, undue stress will be applied to the implant. Over time, this stress can cause the implant to loosen and eventually fail. 

  • Poor Oral Hygiene:
    Poor oral hygiene leads to plaque and tartar, which can eventually spread to adjacent teeth. Poor dental hygiene can also lead to bone loss around the implant, which can cause the implant to fail. 

  • Smoking:
     Smoking decreases blood flow to the gums, which impedes healing and increases the risk of infection. Also, smoking increases the risk of bone loss around the implant. 

Can a Failed Dental Implant Be Saved?

A failed dental implant can be saved, but the procedure’s success depends on the cause of the failure. Unfortunately, there are some cases where an implant can fail after it’s been placed.

Failure Due To Improper Healing

The most common cause of dental implant failure is improper healing due to insufficient bone density. The surrounding jaw bone must be healthy and dense enough to hold and support an implant. If these conditions are not met, implant failure is more likely to occur.

If this occurs, there is still a chance to save the dental implant through additional surgery, such as bone grafting or a sinus lift procedure. Bone grafts involve taking healthy bone from another part of your body (or from donor tissue) and placing it around the area of the implant where support is needed the most. A sinus lift can also help if you don’t have enough height in your upper jaw for an implant. This procedure involves lifting the sinus membrane and placing bone grafts to create more space for implants in your upper jaw bone.

Failure Due To Infection

In some cases, failure may occur due to an infection at the dental implant site. Dentists usually prescribe antibiotics to address any infection before attempting to save the implant or replacing it with a new one altogether.

Failure Due To Improper Placement

If a dental implant fails due to improper placement, your dentist will inspect the area closely to determine the most suitable course of action, including removing the existing implant and replacing it in a better position or placing a new implant altogether. It’s important to remember that when an implant fails, any attempt to address it must be made by an experienced dental professional since this procedure requires more precise technique and attention to detail.

Regardless of what caused a failed dental implant, whether it can be saved will depend on many factors, including the location and severity of the failure, the type of implant material chosen, and how soon the condition is addressed. If you suspect that your dental implant has failed, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice from your dentist immediately to increase your chances for a successful recovery!

What Should I Do to Prevent Failure of My Dental Implant?

  • Regularly visit your dentist:
    It is highly recommended that you visit your dentist at least once every six months so that your dentist can monitor the status of your dental implant. This way, your dentist can spot any problems early on, allowing them to take proper measures to address them.

  • Practice good oral hygiene:
    Good oral hygiene habits are essential for the long-term success of your dental implant. Make sure to brush twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and use an antiseptic mouthwash regularly. 

  • Avoid hard or sticky foods:
    Hard or sticky foods can put additional stress on your dental implant, potentially leading to failure. Avoid biting into ice, crunchy candies, popcorn kernels, and other similar foods, as these can cause damage to the implant or break the prosthesis.

  • Follow instructions given by your dentist:
    Following instructions given by your dentist is key to preventing the failure of your implant. These instructions include leaving the area undisturbed for the first 24 hours after placement, taking medications as prescribed and having a soft diet after surgery to prevent applying strain on the implant.

  • Be mindful of teeth grinding:
    Teeth grinding during sleep can put added pressure on your dental implants and cause them to fail over time. If you wake up with sore jaws or a headache, you may need to consider wearing a nightguard while sleeping to protect your teeth and implants from further damage.

Final Thoughts

Dental implants are an effective and reliable method for replacing missing teeth. Though there is a chance for failure, it can be avoided if proper care and attention are taken. For example, by avoiding smoking, following good oral hygiene routine daily, visiting the dentist regularly, and remaining mindful of the signs of implant failure, the risk of dental implant failure is minimised. While the thought of implant failure can be unsettling, saving a failed implant with timely intervention and proper planning is possible.

If you’re considering dental implants for tooth replacement, contact your dentist at Dentalcare of Forrestfield. They will discuss your case with you and explain the procedure and ways to promote success and prevent implant failure. Our team of dentists is highly experienced in providing this dental treatment, so you are indeed in good hands.

There’s no better time to get your smile back, so don’t wait! Your smile will thank you for it.

Frequently Asked Questions

A dental implant is made of three parts, including the following:

  1. The implant post is a small post made of titanium that acts as a root-like structure, as it is surgically implanted into your jawbone. Titanium is used because it’s biocompatible, which means there is minimal risk of causing allergic reactions or rejection. The implant post acts like an artificial tooth root and helps hold the implant in place.

  2. The abutment is attached to the implant post and serves as a connector between the implant post and the prosthesis.

  3. The prosthesis consists of metal or ceramic components. It is fabricated to mimic the appearance of teeth, and it is attached to the abutment. 

While there is likely to be some pain associated with the procedure, it won’t be nearly as severe as you might fear. Most patients report only mild discomfort during and after the implant surgery, typically alleviated by prescription or over-the-counter medications. In addition, during the procedure, local anesthesia helps reduce pain without putting the patient completely under. Overall, most patients find that the temporary minor discomfort is far overshadowed by the years of improved oral health they experience afterwards with dental implants.

The recovery period for dental implants usually takes between three and six months, but it may take longer depending on the individual’s oral health status. During this time, the bone surrounding the implant will fuse with the implant to create a secure base for your replacement teeth.

Immediately following your dental implant surgery, you may experience some swelling and discomfort in your gums, jaw, and around your mouth, which may last up to a few days. Your dentist may prescribe pain medications to help manage the discomfort. It’s important to attend all follow-up appointments with your dentist during this time. They can check your progress and keep an eye out for any potential complications.

The price of a titanium implant ranges from $4,000 – $6,000 per implant. However, it is important to remember that the cost of dental implants varies due to various factors. To get a more accurate estimate, visit your dentist at Dentalcare of Forrestfield for a consultation.