Dental implants play as the substitute roots for your teeth. They bring patients a strong base for permanent or detachable false teeth that are designed to match your original ones. The success rate of dental implants is very high, most of the time, it is over 95%. However, it is estimated that around 5 to 10 out of 100 patients experience a complication after the treatment known as a failed dental implant

failed dental implant

If you are considering or having dental implant surgery soon, it is important that you are aware of the potential risks and complications. This read from Sydney Dental will tell you everything you need to know about dental implant failure and other possible problems.

dental implant

1. What are the indicators of a failed implant?

Dental implants are lifelong for most of the time. However, in some cases, users may experience an implant failure. This may result from some factors that hurt the osseointegration (the process of the implant getting fused with the jawbone) during the healing time. If you have an implant failure, you’ll likely notice the following signs:

  • Trouble with chewing;
  • Inflamed gums;
  • Recessed gums;
  • Excessive swelling;
  • A loose implant or a loose prosthesis;
  • Severe discomfort and pain.

2. What are the risk factors of dental implant surgery?

The following problems can increase the risks of a failed implant.


Smoking is bad for everything and everyone and dental implants are not an exception. The heat, nicotine, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide may impair your healing process after the surgery. Therefore, they may adversely affect the overall surgery success rate and increase the chance of complications.

The rate of a failed implant differs, depending on the number of cigarettes the person smokes. Heavy smokers who consume 30-40 cigarettes per day are more subject to an implant failure than light smokers who have less than 14 cigarettes daily. 

Gum disease

Having healthy gums is a requirement to be a candidate for implants. In other words, if you have active gum disease, you’re not eligible for the treatment.

Gum disease is known as an infection that can cause damage to your jawbone and gums. If left untreated, gum disease can grow around the implant area, causing a failure. Therefore, it is compulsory that you have this condition treated before proceeding with an implant placement.

Low jawbone density

Implants are supposed to be held securely in the jawbone. Therefore, if there is a lack of jawbone to do this, a dental implant failure is a possibility. Typically, a comprehensive examination of your jawbone is conducted prior to a dental implant surgery. X-rays and 3D modeling are performed to evaluate the patient’s bone quality of the intended dental implant site.

If inadequate jawbone is detected after the examination, the dental provider may recommend the patient get an extra procedure ahead of the implants. These may include a bone graft or a sinus lift. Gradual bone loss can also weaken your dental implants. What may cause a jawbone loss are: 

  • Peri-implant problems;
  • Osteoporosis, a condition that causes the bone to be fragile and easily cracked;
  • Other medical complaints are detrimental to the bone;
  • Smoking. It’s scientifically-backed that smokers have a lower success rate for dental implants. The reason why smoking can result in an implant failure is it can obstruct the blood flow to the surgical site, adversely affecting osseointegration and healing. Smoking is also the cause of periodontal conditions.

Underlying medical conditions

Some medical conditions may contribute to an implant failure. These are:

  • Diabetes;
  • Osteoporosis;
  • A compromised immune system;
  • Bleeding disorders;
  • Cardiovascular disease like hypertension and atherosclerosis;
  • Congestive heart failure.

Senior citizens are at a higher risk of an implant failure for the fact that they tend to be afflicted with more underlying medical or bone diseases. Plus, healing may take longer for those in their later years.

failed dental implant
failed dental implant


Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding or clenching. Bruxism or trauma to the mouth may cause fractures in the implant, screw, or the artificial tooth on top. This is because the repeating clenching movements or sudden trauma can hinder the osseointegration process. If you have teeth clenching, the dentist will ask you to wear a mouthguard during bed time always and forever to protect your implants.

Poor oral hygiene

Proper hygiene remains a must for your dental implants just like for your natural teeth. Lacking proper care, the food particles can start to build up and result in periodontal conditions, damaging your gums and the jawbone.

A peri-implant disease happens when plaque accumulation adversely affects the implant site. Such a disease can be treated in early stages. Otherwise, the peri-implant disease may progress into peri-implantitis, a condition that causes a dental implant failure.

An unqualified dentist

If you are not careful in choosing the right dentist, you may face the risk of a failed implant from an inexperienced one.

It is of paramount priority that you receive your dental implant surgery at a reputable clinic staffed with well-trained, expert dental providers for your own safety and the implant success. If done by underqualified dentist, the following may cause an implant failure:

  • Ill-fitting implants;
  • Misplaced implants;
  • Tissue damage during the implant procedure;
  • Premature attachment of the restoration tooth before the dental implant is fully healed.

So make sure to go with a surgeon with many years of experience and always discuss with them first about the treatment and recovery plan. During your consultation, you can ask them questions to get to know about their expertise better, such as how many years of experience they have, how many dental implant surgeries they conduct each year, what is the success rate for the procedures, etc. 

Treatments or medications

Certain treatments or medications may impact the life of a dental implant. These are the following:

  • Immunosuppressives;
  • Blood-thinners;
  • Radiotherapy;
  • Underqualified dental provider.

3. Good preparation is the best prevention from problems

Although dental implants are successful most of the time, they can fail or cause complications for different reasons. It is best that you are aware of the risks associated with this surgery and prepare yourself well physically as well as mentally to maximize your chance of success. This can be achieved by:

  • Receiving treatment for any gum and bone conditions before surgery;
  • Choosing a reputable clinic with well-trained, experienced dentists;
  • Practicing proper oral care prior to and following surgery.

4. How to prevent an implant failure?

There is no surefire way to prevent a failed implant. That said, you can always take good care of your new teeth to minimize the risk of this complication by doing the following:

  • Brush and floss daily, at least twice per day. Use a mouthwash to rinse your mouth for extra hygiene;
  • Go cold turkey on smoking;
  • Attend dental check-ups every 6 months;
  • Have more calcium to give bones extra support. You can achieve this by using supplements or eating foods rich in calcium, including cheese, milk, broccoli, yogurt, and oranges;
  • If you have teeth grinding or clenching, also known as bruxism, tell your dental care provider to give you a mouth guard to wear during sleep. This is to avoid damage to your implants;
  • Try to not get the top tooth replacement shortly the implant insertion;
  • Refrain from the habits that may damage your teeth, such as chewing on hard foods like ice and candy or having too hot food or drink items.
failed dental implant
failed dental implant

5. When to seek medical attention?

The dentist will give you antibiotics to keep infection away. You may also need prescription or OTC painkillers to help with any discomfort and pain.

Mild problems like bruising and swelling should go away on their own in a couple of days following surgery. Nonetheless, if these problems persist or worsen after a week, you need to contact your dentist.

Initial recovery takes several weeks and osseointegration may take many months to complete. Dental implant receivers should contact their dental provider if they notice the implants are loosening or moving or still painful after several weeks. The earlier the problems are solved, the lower the risk of serious complications is.

6. A note from Sydney Dental – your trusted provider

Hopefully after this read with Sydney Dental you have grasped a good idea of what signs to look out for for a failed dental implant, its risk factors, and how to best prevent it. If you are still unsure of which treatment to choose for a new unforgettably stunning smile in your particular case, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are at 499-501 Ba Hat St, Ward 8, District 10, HCMC looking forward to your visit. You may also call us at (028) 3504 9440 for a free no-obligation comprehensive consultation. Your pretty, shiny smile is 100% guaranteed at Sydney Dental!

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