As dental implantation can be considered a routine oral surgery, it has an extremely high rate of success, around 75%, but the human mind is such that it is curious. This is why you can get so many hits on Google if you type in “dental implant failure”, even though the surgery is almost on the level of safety and success rates as appendectomies. It is understandable, as dental implantology is still relatively new, and is more complicated than just simply getting an infected organ removed.
Naturally, one also likes to lo out for oneself, and if someone is planning to get dental implant treatment done, it is better to be able to identify the possible problems as they occur. So here is a short list to help you do just that, and to make you a little more aware of what to lo for in case something goes wrong.
What it is: In order to not be damaged by the occlusal forces of biting and chewing, and to not damage the surrounding periodontal tissue through movement or placing pressure on nerves or tissue in the surrounding area, a dental implant needs to be positioned correctly. If this does not occur, and the implant is placed in an inadequate angle, than the dental implantation process might damage the surrounding teeth. Even if not so extreme as to do outright damage, if there is just a slight tilt towards the neighboring teeth, the cumulative damage can become quite extensive over time. An implant can also start to become wobbly, or even worse, painful if placed at an incorrect angle, or at an incorrect depth.
What to lo for: First of all, the dental implant should not move at all, in any direction. Even if a slight movement can be detected, contact your dentist immediately. If any numbness is felt after the anaesthetic has worn off, contact your dentist immediately. Feeling pain is not necessarily a sign that anything is wrong, as every patient’s tolerance for pain is different, and what may be acceptable levels by clinical standards may be intolerable on a personal level. Soreness of the jaw and the ligaments in the jaw can be expected of course, and pain medication is usually prescribed. However, if the pain does not subside gradually, or if it intensifies at all after the anaesthetic has worn off, you should contact your dentist.
What it is: Sometimes an x-ray can come back and seem to reveal bone growth that is well suitable for the housing of a dental implant, when in reality, there may still be a problem. The issue is that x-rays are good for measuring bone density, but do not reveal anything about the brittleness or quality of the bone in general.
What to lo for: If the jawbone is not healing properly over time, and the dental implant feels like it is not housed, or encased in bone matter appropriately. Usually, if the bone matter was not diagnosed as being too weak to house the dental implant, this will become apparent during the implantation process.
Much rarer than would be expected, incompetence of the clinical staff can also be the cause of dental implant failure. This should become apparent immediately, but at least within a few days.