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Why Do Dental Implants Fail?

Did you know that dental implants can fail?  Every medical procedure carries a risk for failure.  Doctors of every kind have patients sign an informed consent stating that they understand the risks associated with a procedure and agree to proceed knowing those risks.

An essential part of an informed consent is the explanation of these risks by your doctor, which also includes what factors can increase the likelihood of these risks.

At Designer Smiles, Dr. Ann and Dr. Lauren place a great emphasis on patient education.  We want you to understand the important aspects of the procedures you undergo as a patient.

If you are having a dental implant placed at Designer Smiles, Dr. Ann and Dr. Lauren will go over your specific risk factors that could affect the long-term success of the dental implant.  This blog will address the general risk factors that could affect anyone.

What Does it Mean when a Dental Implant Fails?

Failure is a scary word for patients and dentists alike, and it means the dental implant did not do what it was supposed to do.  In a dental implant failure, one of two scenarios occurs: 1) One or more of the implant parts breaks, or 2) The implant has no attachment to the jaw bone and loosens or falls out.

A recent study found that almost 8% of dental implants fail.  This statistic means that of every 100 dental implants placed, 8 will break or lose attachment to the jaw bone.

What Causes Dental Implant Failures?

This study revealed several factors that increase the likelihood for a dental implant to fail.  Some of these factors are within the patients’ control, and some are not.

Factors Affecting Implant Success and Failure that You Control

  • Gum Disease – Technically called peri-implantitis, gum disease can affect the jaw bone’s attachment to an implant in the same way it affects the attachment to a tooth. Just as the patient has an important role in the prevention and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease, so he or she has a very important role in the prevention and treatment of peri-implantitis.  The next section will go into more details about what you can do to prevent peri-implantitis.
  • Smoking – Smoking affects the body’s ability to heal by reducing blood flow to a surgery site. Good healing requires good blood flow.  Blood supply brings important nutrients and cells necessary to fight infection and inflammation.  When someone smokes, the blood flow decreases, so healing takes longer and is less successful.  For this same reason, smokers are also more likely to develop gum disease.

Other Factors Affecting Implant Success and Failure

  • The number of implants placed – The more implants you have, the more likely you are to experience a failure.
  • The length of a dental implant – Very short implants have a much higher failure rate because there is less surface area to attach to the bone. Ann and Dr. Lauren always use 3D imaging to plan the length and size of a dental implant prior to surgery.  This planning allows them to use specific three-dimensional measurements of the jaw bone in order to select the longest dental implant that is appropriate for your specific case.
  • The restoration on the implant – How the crown or other prosthesis fits onto the implant affects the long-term success rate. Ann and Dr. Lauren have extensive education and training in the proper ways of restoring implants; therefore, at Designer Smiles, this factor is highly unlikely.

What Can Patients do to Reduce the Risk of Failure?

  1. Do not smoke! Smoking greatly increases the risk for implant failure.  It also increases your risk for gum disease and many other health problems, including oral cancer.  Dental implants are a significant investment.  Don’t take a chance on your long-term success.  Ask Dr. Ann and Dr. Lauren for advice if you would like to stop smoking.
  2. Have the best oral hygiene possible! Great oral hygiene is the number one tool to prevent gum disease around a dental implant.  Implants have slightly different anatomy than a natural tooth, so sometimes you need to use additional cleaning techniques.  When you get a new dental implant restoration, ask Phyllis or Nancy for specific tips on how to keep it free from plaque and tartar buildup.
  3. Do not miss a dental appointment! Peri-implantitis is not a death sentence for a dental implant.  But it is a major red flag that the implant is at risk.  By keeping up with consistent dental visits, Dr. Ann, Dr. Lauren, Phyllis and Nancy can keep a close eye on your dental implants.  If one begins to show signs of gum disease, you can catch it early.  Early detection always means simpler treatment and greater long-term success!

Do You Need a Dental Implant?

Call 281-317-0979 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ann and Dr. Lauren.  As part of your pre-operative planning, we will assess your risks and discuss any changes needed prior to your implant surgery.  We make every effort to ensure the highest possible success rate of every dental implant we place.

Have You Already Experienced a Failed Dental Implant?

Dr. Ann and Dr. Lauren have experience treating dental implants that are failing or have already failed.  Let our implant experts put you back on the road to success.

Contact Us Today