Do Dental Implants Fail: What Percentage Of Implants Fail

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Dental Implants: What Are The Chances Of Failure?

Dental implants are screw-like metal posts placed through oral surgery to support one or more replacement teeth. If you have missing teeth that affect your confidence and are considering this treatment, it’s important to be aware of its failure rate and the common reasons for it. This way, you can decide if this is a viable option for you or consider other alternatives.

To help you out, this blog post will discuss these things, as well as the signs of dental implant failure.

What Are Dental Implants?

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are small metal posts surgically placed into your jaw bone by a dentist or an oral surgeon. These posts are made of strong metals, such as titanium or zirconia, that are accepted by your body. Once the implants are securely placed, the bone fuses with them, creating a strong foundation for artificial teethdental crowns, bridges, or dentures.

Implants are designed to act as your natural tooth roots. They are durable, lasting for 25 years or more with proper care. This makes them one of the most popular dental procedures to restore someone’s smile. However, in some instances, implants can fail for various reasons.

Dental implant failure is the inability of the body to establish or maintain osseointegration—a process in which bone fuses to the implants. This can be classified into two types, such as:

  • Dental implant early failure:
    This is when the implants get rejected by the body or when osseointegration doesn’t occur. This can happen within weeks to months after the surgery.

  • Dental implant late failure:
    There is an infection called peri-implant disease, which occurs around the implant and can lead to bone loss and, eventually, implant failure. This usually happens several years after the surgery.

What Is The Dental Implant Failure Rate?

Some studies show that about 5 to 10% of dental implants fail a few days or weeks, months or years after the procedure.

In another study from 2014 to 2020, with 376 implant patients participating, 12 failures were recorded, equating to an overall failure rate of 3.11% within a 6-year follow-up. In addition, other studies report implant failure that ranges from 1 to 19%.

In conclusion, implant failure is generally low. The likelihood of this occurrence depends on different factors, which can hopefully be avoided by working with a qualified dentist.

Why Do Dental Implants Fail?

There are a variety of reasons for early and late implant failure. Here’s a summary of the most common risk factors, according to studies:

Dental Implant Early Failure

A few studies document the risk factors for early failure of implants. But in general, it is caused by the inability of the implant to establish close contact with the jaw bone due to:

  • Surgical trauma.
    This occurs when the implant is placed improperly. As a result, the implant is not able to properly fuse with the bone and is at risk of being rejected by the body.

  • Jaw bone quality and quantity.
    The strength and density of the jaw bone can affect the success of dental implants. If the bone is too weak or not dense enough, it may not be able to support it.
Dental Implant Late Failure
  • Age and sex.
    Data suggests that increasing age is a factor in the late failure of implants. Patients aged 60 to 79 have higher failure rates compared to younger patients who are younger than 40 years old. On the other hand, a study found that failure is more common in men than in women.

  • Systemic factors.
    Two studies suggest that radiation therapy significantly increases the risk of implant failure. While others found that controlled diabetes and thyroid disease did not influence the risk. However, diabetes may slow down the healing process, affecting implant success. Also, other medical conditions, but no specific diseases, are found to increase the risk of late dental failure.

  • Oral history.
    History of periodontal disease can potentially influence late dental failure, specifically 50 months post-surgery.

  • Smoking.
    While being a smoker doesn’t make you ineligible for implants, consuming tobacco products can increase your risk of late failure by 20% since it impairs blood flow and jaw bone healing.

  • Jaw bone condition.
    Insufficient or decreased bone density can lead to late implant failure as well since there’s not enough bone to support the implant.

  • Implant location.
    Some studies found that the posterior regions of the mouth, such as molars and premolars, have a higher failure rate than the anterior regions. This is due to plaque accumulation that can result in gingival inflammation and several oral diseases that could lead to late implant failure.

  • Your dentist or oral surgeon’s skills and treatment plan.
    Surgical complications can arise during implant placement, which may have an impact on the success of implants. Having the procedure done by an experienced dentist who can insert the implant correctly and place it in the right position is crucial for long-term success.

  • Medications.
    Certain medications can affect the success of implants. For instance, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can delay healing and increase the risk of implant failure. Similarly, heartburn medications are found to possibly reduce bone growth, which can lead to implant failure.

How Long Does It Take For A Dental Implant To Fuse With The Bone?

This is called the osseointegration process, wherein the implant fuses with the bone, usually taking about 3 to 6 months. But this can vary depending on individual cases. Some factors that affect the healing time include your oral health condition, how well you follow post-operative instructions, including your oral hygiene routine. Osseointegration is successful when the bone near your implant grows around the titanium screw to form a solid bond, securing it in place.

How Can You Identify Dental Implant Failure?

Some signs and symptoms may suggest implant failure, which include:

  • Persistent or severe pain and discomfort
  • Gum recession
  • Gum inflammation and infection
  • Suppuration or drainage
  • Loose implant
  • Changes in the biting sensation

If you want to be certain, you should visit your dentist and have the implant checked. To avoid these from occurring, it’s important to keep in mind the necessary precautions after the surgery.

What Dental Implant Precautions Can Be Taken?

To prevent implant treatment failure, there are precautions you should take, including:

  • Stick to soft food at least for a few days.
    It’s essential to only consume soft food a few days after your surgery, avoiding hard and chewy food, to allow the implant site to heal properly. Try not to bite on hard food as it may disrupt the healing process.

  • Choose a qualified dentist.
    Consider your implant dentist’s experience and training before undergoing dental implant surgery.

  • Be in good oral and overall health.
    Practise good oral hygiene and have a comprehensive dental exam to check for gum diseases, infections, and other oral issues that could affect the success of your implants. In addition, make sure to have any chronic health conditions you have controlled to avoid delayed healing.

  • Consider quitting smoking.
    If you can’t quit smoking, at least try to reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke daily. This can help improve blood flow and decrease the risk of infections and implant failure.

  • Follow aftercare instructions.
    After dental implant surgery, following your dentist’s post-operative instructions is important to promote healing and prevent infection. These may include getting enough rest, taking antibiotics and using a special mouth rinse.

Can A Failed Implant Be Replaced?

In most cases, a failed dental implant can be replaced. Your dentist or oral surgeon will first examine your mouth and determine why it has happened. They will assess if the conditions are ideal for another implant to be placed. If this is not possible, an alternative treatment may be recommended.

If implant failure is due to the rejection of the implant because of insufficient bone, they will most likely remove your implants under local anaesthesia, gently clean the area, and perform a bone graft to strengthen the bone.

Sometimes, even if you have healthy bones, the reason could be the placement of the metal implant post. In this case, they may need to remove the old implant and place a new one in a different position.

In other cases, your zirconia or titanium implant can be damaged due to an accident or injury. If it’s minor damage, such as a small chip, your dentist can repair it using a special composite material. Note that this procedure requires an experienced dentist. They may need to remove and replace the implants if the damage is severe.

Final Thoughts

Dental implants are metal posts placed through implant surgery to replace one or more missing teeth, helping people achieve a beautiful smile and regain their confidence. They are known for their durability, long-lasting results, and high implant success rates. However, failures may still occur—whether during the early stage of the process or at a later time. Most studies find that there are only small risks of failure, making implants a very popular choice.

If you have been thinking of getting this dental treatment but are sceptical due to the failure rate of the procedure, call us at 08 9349-0800 to book a consultation.

Comfort Care Dental has a team of dentists who can discuss these things in detail. They can also assess your oral health and let you know if you are a good candidate for this procedure. The dentists at our state-of-the-art clinic have many years of experience performing dental implants. Ultimately, they take precautions to minimise the risks of failure.



Dr. Karthik Lakkaraju

For Dr Karthik, dentistry is the complete package. He most enjoys the feeling he gets when he sees a patient achieve a beautiful smile, or can put an end to pain and increase the quality of life. He believes oral health is a mirror of general health and reflects the person’s personality and confidence.

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