As with any medical procedure, there are risks associated with dental implants. Recent studies suggest that up to 5% of patients experience dental implant failure for teeth implanted into the lower jaw, and up to 10% failure for teeth implanted into the upper jaw. An implant is considered to have failed if the tooth is lost, becomes mobile or fails to halt bone loss around the implant area. There are several factors that can lead to implant failure.

Improper positioning or deficient jaw bone

In order for an implant to be effective, it must be properly place and the surround bone must be sturdy enough to support it. If the implant is placed into bone tissue that is too thin, the implant cannot receive proper bone depth. Prior to placing the implant the dentist must using advanced imaging techniques to develop a 3D image of the jaw. If this image is not accurate, it may not reveal that the jawbone is too thin to accept the implant. An inaccurate diagram of the jaw may also lead to incorrect placement in the socket. In both cases, the implant is likely to fail, and may cause further damage to the surrounding bone.


Infection is the most common cause for dental implant failure. In the presence of infection, new bone and gum tissue may not form around the implant. The result is an implant that becomes loose and must be replaced. To prevent infection, you must follow a post-surgical regimen prescribed by your doctor. Immediately following the implant procedure pain, redness and tenderness are normal; but, if they persist for more than a week, you need to contact your doctor to ensure you have not developed an infection. If an infection is left untreated, you may need to have your implant removed completely while the infection heals, and then replaced at a later date.

Failure of the bone to regenerate

Following implant surgery, the bone should begin to regenerate. The remodeled bone tissue surrounds the implant and locks it into place. If the bone tissue fails to regenerate, the implant remains loose. This can happen if the implant is improperly placed or if inadequate bone grafts are used. To resolve this, the dentist may need to repeat the procedure.

Dental implant failure is a rare occurrence, but it can happen. Make sure to keep all post-operative appointments with your dentist. After the implant has healed, if you notice any pain or looseness of the implant, make an appoint to visit your dentist as soon as possible.

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