Give your implant the best chance of long-term success.
If you had to guess how successful dental implants are, what would you guess? The answer is an incredibly reassuring 90% to 95% success rate over a 10-year period. If you follow your dentist’s advice after you get a dental implant, your procedure is much more likely to succeed than it is to fail! Still, implant failure does happen—and it’s natural to want to do everything you can to ensure it doesn’t happen to you.
So what can you do about it? The key is often understanding the causes of implant failure. After all, when you know what can go wrong, you’re more likely to be able to take steps to prevent it. This gives you the best chance of experiencing a great treatment outcome. It’s this type of philosophy that might lead you to wonder what the top causes of dental implant failure are. The answer is a little more complex than you might think.
While implant failure is incredibly rare, there are many reasons it can happen. Everyone is different, so each individual is often more or less at risk for certain complications based on factors like their overall health, oral health, and lifestyle habits. As a result, there’s no true consensus on the most common causes of dental implant failure. The biggest risks for you may be different than someone else’s, but there are several common causes of implant failure that you can pay attention to and take steps to prevent. Here are the most common causes of implant failure and what you can do to avoid them and give your procedure the best chance of long-term success.
When you get a dental implant, one of the most immediate risks for it failing is an infection like peri-implantitis. This infection causes inflammation in the gums and bone surrounding the implant. If it isn’t caught early, peri-implantitis can lead to bone loss around your implant, eventually causing it to fail or requiring Dr. Bentz to remove it in order to treat the infection. Thankfully, you can significantly reduce your chances of getting peri-implantitis by practicing great oral hygiene, taking the complete course of any antibiotics Dr. Bentz may prescribe during the healing process, and keeping up with regular follow-up appointments.
2. Placement of the Implant
Your implant’s placement in your jaw is essential to its success, so it’s planned carefully before your procedure even takes place. If your implant isn’t placed in the proper position, it can lead to problems like gum recession and the metal becoming visible through your gums. While it might sound like this problem is out of your hands, the good news is it’s not! The key is to find an experienced implant surgeon who uses advanced technology to plan the placement of your implant. Doing this ensures that your implant is placed in the ideal position. This is why it’s perfectly acceptable—even preferable—to schedule consultations with several implant specialists before you choose the dentist you feel most comfortable with performing the procedure. A good dentist will understand and will be willing to answer any questions you have about their training, experience, and past results.
3. Lack of Osseointegration
Osseointegration is an essential process for your implant that involves the bone of your jaw growing around your implant, securing it firmly in place like a natural tooth root. When there isn’t enough bone density in your jaw for the implant in the first place, osseointegration can fail and your implant can become loose over time and potentially fall out. During the planning process, an experienced dentist will pay close attention to the health of your jaw and the bone density where your implant needs to be placed. If your jaw has suffered bone loss, you can increase its bone density by getting a bone graft before you receive your implant. You’ll need to give the bone time to heal and grow before you receive your implant, but this is sometimes an essential step if you want to give your implant the best chance for success!
4. Rejection of the Implant
The titanium metal rod that replaces your natural tooth root in a dental implant is biocompatible, which means most people’s bodies are very unlikely to recognize it as a foreign object and launch an immune response against it. In some rare cases, however, this is exactly what happens. There’s nothing you or Dr. Bentz can do to predict this type of reaction, but the good news is it’s incredibly rare!
An allergy to one of the materials in the implant itself can also cause an allergic reaction that results in your body rejecting the implant. In this case, it’s much easier to do something to predict and prevent the issue from ever happening. Although they’re mostly made of titanium, some implants also include a few components made of nickel. If you’re allergic to either metal, alert Dr. Bentz so he can find an implant that contains a different material. Making this simple switch will help you get the treatment you need without having to worry about an allergic reaction.
5. Poor Oral Hygiene
One of the greatest threats to your implant’s long-term success is poor oral hygiene. Just like a natural tooth, your dental implant can be impacted by poor oral health. Severe gum disease can lead to bone loss underneath the implant, eventually causing it to fail and potentially lead to tooth loss. Thankfully, the solution to this problem is incredibly simple! All you need to do is give your teeth and implant the same level of care they’ve always needed. This means committing to brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, flossing at least once a day, using mouthwash daily, and scheduling a regular checkup with your dentist at least every six months. These habits will help you prevent oral health issues, like gum disease, that threaten the health of your natural teeth and implant.
6. Stress on the Implant
Your implant can also fail over time if there’s too much stress placed on it. Common causes of this are clenching or grinding your teeth or overloading, which is when bite pressure is focused on your implant instead of being distributed evenly across your teeth. Among other reasons, this can occur if your crown isn’t sitting on the implant well. Thankfully, both of these are relatively easy to resolve. If you’re clenching or grinding your teeth, you can use stress management techniques or devices like a mouth guard to help curb the habit and relieve pressure on your implant. Overloading is best prevented right when your restoration is placed on your implant. Dr. Bentz will carefully check your bite to ensure it’s ideal before sending you home, but if you notice anything off in the next few days, you can call and return to our office at any time for an adjustment.
7. Poor Overall Health
Your entire body is connected, so your overall health can also impact the success of your implant. Certain medical conditions and medications, for example, can increase the likelihood that your implant will fail. Conditions that cause you to heal more slowly or make you more vulnerable to infections can result in complications that cause it to fail, while medications that affect healing, bone growth, or blood supply can interfere with osseointegration. These are often small added risks, but it’s always important to tell your implant specialist about all of your medical conditions and medications. This will help them determine if you’re a good candidate for the procedure. They’ll also be able to take steps to lessen any increased risks, such as planning for longer stretches between procedures to allow you to heal better or prescribing antibiotics during the healing process.
8. Tobacco Use
Any form of tobacco use increases the likelihood that your implant will fail because the nicotine contained in it causes blood vessels to constrict. Your blood delivers oxygen and nutrients that are essential for the healing process, but decreased blood flow means your healing bone doesn’t get as much as it should. It also causes inflammation around the healing implant, increasing the risk of peri-implantitis and impacting your body’s ability to prevent and fight infections. Quitting tobacco use is often difficult, but it gives your implant the best chance of healing properly and continuing to succeed in the long term. The good news is there are plenty of resources out there to help you manage it—and it’s better for your overall health too!
Reach out to the team at Bentz Dental for more info on the implant process.
Nowadays, getting a dental implant is a very straightforward process with a stunning success rate. While it certainly helps to understand what could go wrong and how you can prevent it, the vast majority of implants are successful. If you follow Dr. Bentz’s advice and commit to great oral hygiene, you’ll likely be able to enjoy your beautiful, healthy smile for a lifetime! If you’d like to learn more about the implant process, feel free to call and schedule a consultation at any time.