6 Causes of Dental Implant Failure and How You Can Avoid Them

March 21, 2019 12:47 pm | Published by
Are you concerned about dental implant failure? You shouldn’t be overly concerned. Dental implants have a 95% success rate. How does that compare to other types of replacement surgeries?
  • Knee replacement – 90%
  • Hip replacement – 90%-95%
  • Shoulder replacement – 90%-95%
So what causes dental implant failure?

1. Shortcuts

Some patients insist on keeping fees low. And that can put pressure on some dentists to look for ways to meet patient demands. If shortcuts are taken with diagnostics, only two-dimensional x-rays will be used. But there are potential problems with using two-dimensional x-rays to place dental implants:
  • They won’t sufficiently reveal bone density and bone quality.
  • The location of nerves and blood vessels won’t be clearly visible.
  • It’s risky to have a limited view of oral tissue and structures.
Three-dimensional images are needed for optimal implant placement. And the most conscientious implant dentists use them.

2. Cheap dental implant fixtures

Some dentists use sub-standard fixtures because they are less expensive than high-quality fixtures. High-quality implant fixtures are FDA approved. FDA approval requires:
  • Costly research
  • Published juried research
  • Documented test results
But cheaper fixtures can have defects in their design or be made of low-quality materials. If you want quality implants, expect to pay more for them.

3. Trauma

Trauma can cause dental implants to fracture or break. Trauma can be caused by a number of factors, some of which include:
  • Impact to your face or teeth
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Improper bite that puts extra stress on the implants
  • Improper placement of the restoration (dental crown) can put stress on the implant
  • Poorly positioned dental implants

4. Inadequate medical history

Some medical conditions can affect the success of dental implants. If shortcuts are taken in obtaining a patient’s medical history, the dental implants might not heal properly, and dental implant failure can occur.

5. Other factors

There are other factors that can prevent implants from healing properly. Some of them include:
  • Smoking
  • Periodontal disease
  • Playing contact sports
  • Excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages

6. Lack of communication between the implant surgeon and restorative dentist

The restorative dentist, who provides the dental crown, should provide the oral surgeon with a guide for implant placement. If the guide isn’t followed, the fixtures might be improperly placed. This can prevent proper healing and lead to implant failure.
A diagram of the dental implant process with four side-by-side phases, including placement, healing, abutment, and crown; from Portland, Oregon dentist Dr. Mo Saleh.

Phases of the dental implant process

How to Avoid Dental Implant Failure

As a patient, you can ensure you maintain good oral health and avoid the habits that can prevent proper healing, including smoking, playing contact sports, and excessively drinking alcoholic beverages. Much of the success of dental implants depends on the skill of the implant surgeon and the restoring dentist.  What can you do about that?
  • Find dentists with extensive training and experience in implantology.
  •  Before you select providers, research their credentials.
  • Schedule consultations with at least two dentists to discuss your options.
  • Don’t base your selection on cost alone.
  • Take your time to weigh your options. Don’t rush.
Dental implants are the healthiest way to replace missing teeth. And they can last a lifetime. Careful planning and placement will give you results that will improve your oral health and your quality of life. This post is sponsored by Portland, OR dentist Dr. Mo Saleh of Optima Dental. Dr. Saleh has advanced training in implantology. All phases of the dental implant process—including surgery and restoration—are completed in his office.
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