Understanding Rare Dental Implant Failure

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Dental implants in SW Calgary are an increasingly popular and common solution for tooth loss, and are almost always completed without complications. Implants have a success rate of approaching 95% over a ten year period. While the failure of implants is rare, it is possible. To help you understand the risk — albeit a small one — of implant failure, we’ve put together this guide to the issue.

You’ve probably heard of the notion of “rejection” when it comes to organ transplants. The rare failure of dental implants near you is not associated with rejection. Rather, there are two issues involved in failed dental implants: peri-implantitis and failed osseointegration.


Peri-implantitis occurs as the result of poor oral hygiene following implant procedures. Inadequate brushing and flossing allows the development of this type of gum disease that actually degrades the jaw bone itself. Because it attacks the bone into which your implant is placed, advanced peri-implantitis can cause an implant to loosen.

Failed osseointegration

Osseointegration is the bodily process through which the titanium implant fuses to your jaw bone tissue in the months following implantation. In rare cases, that bodily process is not completed successfully. Failed osseointegration is attributable to a wide variety of factors, including: the quality of your bone tissue; whether or not you use tobacco; whether you were treated with bone grafting as part of the implant procedure; and the specific technique applied during your implant. Failed osseointegration is typically apparent in the early stages after your surgery.

Implant failures occur in two phases (early and late). The early phase of potential implant failures arises in the first three to four months after your surgery. Late phase implant failures develop from one to 10 years after your implant surgery.

When an implant fails in the first months after surgery, it is usually as a result of deprived blood supply, existing infections, shifting of the implant as it heals, lack of time for implant to integrate, or the patient’s poor general health. When an implant fails a year or more later after being put in place, it is usually as a result of a bacterial infection, excessive stress on the implant, grinding and clenching of teeth, insufficient bone or gum tissue, poor oral hygiene, having received radiation treatment to the head or neck, and excessive food accumulating between the implants.

What are the symptoms of a failing implant?

Following your implant procedures and during regular dental checkups, the staff at a dental clinic near you will very closely examine the site(s) of your implant(s) to identify any indications of potential implant failure. There are three main symptoms of potential implant failure that you should watch for and — if you notice them — contact your dentist as soon as possible. Those symptoms of potential implant failure are:

  • Severe pain around the area of your implant
  • Swollen or inflamed gums around the area of your implant
  • If your implant is becoming loose

What can be done about a failing implant?

Treatment options for a failing implant depend on the underlying causes of the failure. If you have developed peri-implantitis, the disease can be treated relatively conservatively by simply cleaning the implant, treating the infection, and renewing your commitment to oral hygiene. If the underlying issue is stress or damage to your bone, then inflamed or damaged tissue may need to be removed and bone grafting will be considered. In cases of significant damage, your dentist in SW Calgary may recommend that the implant be removed and replaced after necessary treatment to deal with the underlying issues and damage.

Failed implants are rare but, because they are possible, it’s important you have all the relevant information. If you have questions about the condition of your implant, reach out to a dental clinic near you for answers to all your questions and concerns.

(587) 872-5669