What are the Signs of a Failed Dental Implant?

What are the Signs of a Failed Dental Implant?
Author: cmcgovern Posted: February 13th, 2023 Category:

While dental implants have a high success rate, it’s a good idea to know how to identify the signs of a failed dental implant so you can get it taken care of as soon as possible.

Dental implants are an effective and proven answer if you’re looking for a permanent solution to replace missing teeth. Unlike dentures, dental implants are fused with the jaw bone and act (and look) much like your actual teeth.

What’s more, dental implant procedures are highly successful. A recent study in the Journal of Oral Medicine and Oral Surgery followed patients who received a dental implant between 2014 and 2020 and found the implants had a success of 97 percent after ten years. But while the chance of a dental implant failing is extremely low, it’s good to know the signs of a failed dental implant just in case.  

What are the signs of a failed dental implant?

Before the procedure, your dentist will assess your oral health and general well-being. Be sure to tell the dentist about any medical conditions, such as osteoporosis or diabetes, that could interfere with the healing process. You should also list any medications you are taking.

A dental implant is placed over several stages. During the first part, the dentist drills a hole into the bone and inserts a metal rod. After the bone fuses with the rod, an abutment will be screwed over the metal rod. Finally, an artificial tooth is attached to the abutment. The entire process may take several months, perhaps even longer, if you need a bone graft to build up the bone mass.

Immediately after the procedure, you may experience minor pain, bleeding, or bruising around the gums and face. Those symptoms should diminish within days and are not a sign the implant has failed. Instead, it means your body is healing.

On the other hand, there are definite indications the implant has failed. If the implant fails soon after the procedure, you’ll likely notice these signs:

The implant feels loose. Sometimes, the process of osseointegration is incomplete. This means the implant and bone haven’t fully fused, causing the implant to feel loose, especially when you chew or talk. An X-ray can show if there is insufficient bone mass around the implant.

An infection around the implant. Failure may also occur if an infection develops around the implant, which typically causes pain and swelling. Those with gum disease are more susceptible to an infection, so healthy gums are a prerequisite for an implant. 

Although most failures occur soon after the implant, implants can fail many years after the procedure. Long-term complications include nerve damage, causing numbness in the face, lips, and tongue, and sinus pain if the implant protrudes into the sinus cavity.

If a dental implant fails, you have alternatives. Your dentist can give you a new dental implant, or you may choose dentures or a bridge. 

How to prevent a dental implant failure

Considering the time commitment required to undergo a dental implant, you’ll want to ensure it lasts many years. You can reduce the risk of implant failure with these measures:

Stop smoking. Cigarettes block blood flow to the gum tissues, hindering the healing process. If you light up, stop smoking a week before the procedure and for two months afterward. But quitting altogether is probably better for your oral and overall health.

Keep up good oral hygiene. Gum disease is a significant factor leading to implant failure. If you maintain good oral hygiene, you’ll keep your gums healthy and the implant intact. Brush and floss every day and rinse with mouthwash. 

And don’t forget those regular dentist checkups. The earlier your dentist spots any signs of implant failure, the sooner you can take care of it to avoid complications.

Are you thinking about getting a dental implant?

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s La Mesa location today! Our highly trained dentists can help you through the dental implant procedure and ensure its success. Don’t live near our La Mesa, CA, office? Find one of our other locations near you.

La Mesa, CA
8555 Fletcher Pkwy. 
Suite 102 
La Mesa, CA 91942