Worried about the failure rate of dental implants? Ironside Advanced Dental explain what can go wrong, and how to give yourself the best chance of a successful procedure.

Dental implants are an excellent treatment solution for a missing tooth. A dental implant is an artificial root for a replacement tooth which is surgically implanted into your jawbone by an oral surgeon or periodontist. Dental implants are inserted into your existing bone, so there’s little chance of dislodgement, and it looks and feels like a natural tooth.  However, as with all medical procedures, there’s a chance something could go wrong. So let’s explore how dental implants can fail, the main causes of implant failure, and what you can do to help prevent it.

What can go wrong?

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved in receiving dental implants. These risks will be explained to you and discussed at your consultation at Ironside Advanced Dental before the decision is made to proceed. Some of the things that can go wrong with an implant are:
  • Infection or inflammation after placement
  • Fractures
  • An implant may not integrate properly with the bone; this is very rare, but it is a possibility
  • Bone loss due to poor positioning
  • Nerve damage due to poor positioning
The chance of any of the above situations occurring is minimal; if you’re concerned, discuss the risks in detail with your dentist.

Why dental implants fail

Dental implant failure is uncommon. The three most common reasons for dental implant failure are:

1.       Pre-existing gum disease

Gum disease is the number one cause of adult tooth loss. It can have an impact on the tissue around the implant and affect the osseointegration process (how the implant fuses to your jawbone).

2.       Pre-existing medical conditions

Some medical conditions like diabetes can affect healing or cause inflammation, which can also cause difficulty with osseointegration.

3.       Smoking

Smoking is one of the most common reasons that dental implants fail; in fact, many dentists even refuse to treat patients who smoke because the implant failure rate is so high amongst smokers. Again, smoking can indirectly cause inflammation of the gums, which interrupts the integration process of the implant and jawbone. This is because smoking interrupts healing.

How can I make sure my dental implants don’t fail?

The reason implants fail is sometimes unavoidable; on the very rare occasion, the implant can simply just not bond with your bone. But the good news is, there are things you can do to greatly improve your chances of a successful implant. To give yourself the best chance of a successful implant procedure, there are three things you should do:

1.       Stop smoking.

It might seem obvious, but it cannot be stressed enough how much damage smoking causes your teeth and gums. Stop smoking now and give your mouth a chance to heal.

2.       Take care of your teeth and gums.

Having a daily oral health routine of flossing once and brushing twice will go a long way towards keeping your mouth healthy, and will reduce the risk of implant failure.

3.       Choose a qualified dentist.

Dr Ironside is a prosthodontist; that means he’s a qualified dentist who has undergone a further three years of full-time training and practice in all aspects of dentistry. There’s few who are better qualified or more experienced to handle your dental needs. All surgical procedures carry risk. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.