The Causes of Dental Implant Failure

Smiling senior woman with new dental implants sitting in the dental office and looking at the mirror

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Dental implant failure is very rare. In fact, dental implant surgery has a success rate of 95%. When surgical failures happen, they are typically due to improper patient selection.

Causes of Failure

Implants fail for numerous reasons. Causes include biological or microbiological factors, biomechanical factors, biomaterial factors, and implant surface treatments. Potential complications involved in the dental implant procedure are nerve damage, infection, the body’s rejection of the implant and the implant itself breaking.

The most widespread cause of dental implant failure is poor oral hygiene. Build-up of dental plaque and debris around teeth and implants results in an increased concentration of bacteria. Good oral hygiene can greatly reduce this bacteria and the risk of infection.

Improper patient selection is another reason for dental implant failure. Only patients with sufficient bone quality or quantity to support the implant fixture should be selected for implant surgery. Otherwise, implants are essentially doomed. The dentist must check the patient’s medical history and systematic health before surgery.

Surgical Technique

Another possible reason for implant failure is inferior surgical technique. Implant failure may result from insufficient irrigation of the surgical site or from using low torque and excessive drill speed during placement. Failure often results from extreme temperature elevation during placement, which leads to necrosis of the bone surrounding the implant. Inadequate implant restorations may also contribute to long term implant failure. Poorly restored implants may have overhangs or be over-contoured, leading to plaque buildup and ultimate failure.


Other research has shown that smoking can lead to higher rates of dental implant failure. Smoking is exceptionally harmful to all oral tissues, especially when implants are present. It affects the healing of bone and soft tissue by reducing nutrients and minerals in the tissues and by reducing blood supply. To keep the supporting bone and gum tissues healthy and capable of resisting infection, the implant patient should not smoke.


Source by Kevin Stith

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