All Health Funds accepted under Medicare (eligible children only), GU Health, Hif, Qantas Health, AHM, Afterpay, Humm, and Zip

Understanding Dental Implant Failure: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention Tips

This blog post will tackle common dental implant problems, such as causes, signs and symptoms, how to diagnose them, and preventive measures. We’ll also provide you with some treatment options in case you experience dental implant failure, so keep reading to learn more.
Admire Dental Butler
Dr. Karthik Lakkaraju
April 18, 2023

Dental implants are increasingly popular over the years, and studies have supported their efficiency in replacing missing teeth. They can offer various benefits, such as preserving bone health and improving smile appearance. However, like other medical procedures, some risks and complications may occur. Dental implant failure is the inability of the artificial tooth root to fuse with the jawbone. It can result in prolonged pain and the need for further treatment.

It’s essential to understand the causes and symptoms of dental implant complications. That way, individuals will know what to look out for and can take the necessary precautions to prevent them from happening.

This blog post will tackle common dental implant problems, such as causes, signs and symptoms, how to diagnose them, and preventive measures. We’ll also provide you with some treatment options in case you experience dental implant failure, so keep reading to learn more.

Summary of The Content

  • The dental implant failure rate is low but should be considered by the dentist, and patients must be aware of these potential risks.

  • Dental implant failure refers to the inability of the artificial tooth root to integrate with the jawbone, and it can result in prolonged pain and the need for further treatment.

  • Early tooth implant failure occurs during the first few days or weeks, and late failure of dental implants happens after several months or decades.

  • Poor oral hygiene, certain health conditions, smoking, insufficient bone density, and implant overload are some of the reasons and risk factors that can result in dental implant failure.

  • Symptoms of dental implant failure include severe pain, facial swelling, inflammation, loose-feeling implant, and gum tenderness.

  • Seeking immediate dental care is essential if the patient experiences any of the symptoms. It may improve the chances of optimal tooth implant integrity.

What Is Dental Implant Failure?

Dental implants have a high success rate in restoring missing teeth. However, similar to other surgical procedures, a low potential failure rate may occur in rare situations. Dental implant failure refers to impaired bone healing or a complication when the tooth implant becomes misaligned with the bone. This issue can cause gum recession, exposing the artificial tooth root and making the dental crown or replacement tooth appear unnatural.

There are two types of dental implant complications, including the following:

  • Early tooth implant failure.
    Early failure occurs shortly after the first few weeks of a dental implant procedure. The common reason for this failure is lack of osseointegration or the inability of the dental implant to fuse with the bone, causing poor healing.

  • Late tooth implant failure.
    Late implant failure happens several years after the tooth implant has been placed. It is often associated with a lack of function, too much stress on dental implants, exposure to bacteria, or poor placement of the dental implant.

Common Causes of Dental Implant Failure

There are many reasons and risk factors that can result in dental implant failure, including the following:

  • Poor oral hygiene.
    One of the primary causes of tooth implant failure is neglecting proper dental hygiene. It can increase the risk of plaque buildup around the artificial tooth, which can irritate the gum tissues and lead to gum recession.

  • Medical conditions.
    Certain medical conditions can be risk factors, including diabetes, auto-immune diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis. Such health problems can interfere with the proper healing process, making it more challenging for the tooth implant to integrate with the jawbone. We encourage patients with these health conditions to inform the dental professional to determine the appropriate treatment plan.

  • Smoking and tobacco use.
    The nicotine and tar in cigarettes and tobacco can slow the blood flow in the surgical area and cause delays in the healing process. Studies show that smoking habits can double the dental implant failure rate.

  • Insufficient bone density.
    Poor bone quality in the area can make it difficult for dental implants to integrate and provide a strong foundation for false teeth.

  • Implant overload.
    Another possible cause is implant overload which may occur when the artificial tooth root is subjected to excessive pressure or bite force, like teeth grinding or clenching. It can result in the loosening of the dental implant, which may eventually lead to treatment failure.

If you have the risk factors or face certain circumstances mentioned above, we highly suggest discussing them with the dentist. Doing so can allow the qualified dental professional to develop a preventative plan or recommend alternative treatment options to prevent serious complications.

Symptoms of Dental Implant Failure

Dental implant complications can cause several symptoms, and knowing what to look out for is essential. Being familiar with the common signs and symptoms can let you know whether your dental prosthetics are failing or healing. Here’s the list:

  • Pain and discomfort.
    Pain is a common reaction following the surgical placement of dental implants. However, prolonged discomfort around the tooth implant area may signify a problem. A patient may experience persistent pain or sensitivity that does not improve even with pain medications.

  • Swelling and inflammation.
    Swelling near the surgical area is also a common side effect during the early stages of the dental implant healing process. But suppose the inflammation persists or occurs again after the recovery period. In that case, it can indicate infection, bone loss, or tissue damage that can lead to tooth implant failure.

  • Loose or shifting implant.
    A fully healed and successful dental implant treatment should provide a strong anchorage for tooth replacement. But if it starts to loose, shift, or move from its optimal position, it can indicate that the false tooth root is not fully integrated into the bone, or there is a problem with the placement.

  • Gum recession.
    Gum recession is when the gum tissue pulls back and exposes the artificial tooth root or the dental implant.

Suppose you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate dental care. That way, the dentist can detect early signs of common dental implant problems. Prompt treatment may prevent further complications and improve the chances of optimal tooth implant integration.

Diagnosis of Dental Implant Failure

When a dental implant is suspected of failing, a dental professional will perform a physical examination to check for signs of inflammation, infection, and other symptoms of failure. If the dentist notices the tooth implant is mobile, they might recommend diagnostic tools like dental X-rays to assess its condition. Such tools can provide a clear image of the prosthetic tooth’s position and the surrounding jawbone structure underneath the gums.

The dentist can identify potential issues, such as the malpositioned of the dental implant or the inability of the bone to grow around the false tooth root. A thorough examination can allow the dental professional to develop an appropriate treatment plan to address it.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Dental Implant Failure

A qualified dentist considers the common potential causes and risk factors for dental implant failure to reduce the likelihood of complications. At the same time, patients should take preventive measures such as those listed below:

  • Good oral hygiene practices.
    One of the important care and maintenance for dental implants is practising good dental hygiene habits. Brushing your real teeth, particularly around the prosthetic tooth, can prevent the risk of plaque buildup that may otherwise allow tooth decay to develop and lead to dental implant failure.

  • Regular dental check-ups and cleanings.
    Another dental implant failure prevention is visiting the dentist for check-ups and professional cleaning. They can monitor the dental prosthetics regularly and perform a thorough cleaning to control plaque and tartar.

  • Avoiding smoking and tobacco use.
    Abstaining from cigarette smoking or using tobacco products can prevent exposing the gums to chemicals that may irritate them and heighten the risk of gum disease. Therefore, lowering the risk of common dental problems.

  • Maintaining a healthy diet.
    A balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help maintain bone health and density, promoting bone growth and allowing for healthy osseointegration.

  • Following dental care instructions.
    Keeping up with dental care instructions provided by the dentist is another way of dental implant failure prevention. It may include recommended proper oral hygiene habits and follow-up appointments to monitor dental implant health.

Treatment Options for Dental Implant Failure

When a dental implant fails, there are several treatment options available that a dentist may recommend based on the severity of the problem. Let’s discuss them in detail:

  • Implant removal and replacement.
    Suppose the teeth implant has failed due to complications such as bacterial infection. In that case, the dentist may need to perform oral surgery to take out the old prosthetic tooth root and insert a new dental implant replacement.

  • Bone grafting and regeneration.
    If dental implant failure is caused by insufficient bone density, bone grafting may be necessary to strengthen bone quality. This additional procedure can create a suitable environment for the new dental implant.

  • Soft tissue grafting.
    Soft tissue augmentation aims to enhance the level of the gum tissues around the dental implant area to promote better healing.

Final Thoughts

Dental implant failure can happen to anyone, but understanding the risk factors, common symptoms, and preventive care can help reduce the likelihood of complications. Some preventative measures include maintaining good dental hygiene, abstaining from smoking, and following post-operative instructions. It is also important to inform the dentist about any medical conditions that may increase the risk of dental implant complications. Furthermore, seeking immediate treatment from a dentist can help lower the risk of further complications.

Our team at Admire Dental Butler is here to provide further information about the failure rate of dental implants. Nevertheless, working with a qualified dental professional can increase the likelihood of enjoying a quality and safe dental implant procedure. Please book an appointment through our website or call us to schedule your visit today. 

dr lakkaraju


Dr. karthik lakkaraju

Dr. Karthik sees joy in his work to transform patients’ smiles through his comprehensive treatment plans. His years of experience have earned him a good reputation for improving oral health.