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A beautifully written summary of the reasons for dental implant failure can be viewed at this well informed website. I am going to now list these issues thematically and provide some insight into the technical language involved.

1) Infection

As written in a previous article, one cause of tooth implant problems is infection of the tissue surrounding the dental implant. This is usually caused by insufficient oral hygiene after the dental implant has been placed in the implantation site. Improper sterilization of the dental implant prior to implantation can also be the cause of the tooth implant problem. When this issue occurs, antibiotics alone are unfortunately not the solution; the implant needs to be removed, the site cleaned manually, and a course of antibiotics needs to be taken. Prostheses attached to the implant (crowns, bridges, dentures) cannot be worn while the site is healing. After the site is healed, reimplantation can occur.

2) Structural failure of the implant

Dental implants, like any other product, do sometimes fail due to no fault of the patient. If a damaged or structurally unsound implant is given to a patient, the doctor will almost always give a new one for free via the manufacturer’s guarantee. It is advisable to get the exact details of each manufacturers guarantee on the dental implant you are getting from your dentist prior to implantation. At this point I would like to make an important note. A manufacturers guarantee is usually for 5 or 10 years, depending on the implant, but the expected longevity of the tooth implant is much, much longer than that (the mean average being around 15 years, but usually a properly cared for tooth implant will last a lifetime). The manufacturers guarantee is simply a statement that if the implant is structurally flawed, the signs should show themselves within the allotted time, at which point the implant will be recalled.

3) Bone loss

Over time, the composition of our skeletal structure changes. Bone becomes less dense and calcium is leached from the body by father time, who is kind to no one. This is especially the case for women, as the condition osteoporosis is most common is post-menopausal women. The processes of menopause and menstruation eat up a lot of calcium, which means more loss throughout one’s lifetime than for men. The same can be said for diabetics, who also experience greater bone loss and thinning of bone material.

4) Improper Placement

Tied up with the first and third points, if the dental implant is placed in an area that has become unsuitable for tooth implant retention, the implant will become loose and lose proper function. A dental implant that fails to fuse to the bone material around it will also cause the same issue. This can be due to hypersensitivity, which is the cause for 4% of all implant failures, so it is negligible but can occur. In these cases reimplantation is the only option, possibly coupled with a bone graft.

5) Crown Decementation

Often thought of as a failure of the dental implant, the crown can come off all on its own, even with a sound, stable implant and a good crown. Most often the issue is decementation, which means that the adhesive binding the crown to the implant gives up and the crown falls off. This can be corrected with an over the counter dental adhesive, and can be recemented at home, although we do recommend getting the implant checked with a dentist, as if the problem is due to the implant then the recementation will be useless. If the crown is faulty, a new one needs to be made. Please note that crowns have shorter lives than tooth implants.

Other issues may also arise, but these should cover the basics for the time being.  




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