Complications with Dental Implants


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As with any medical procedure there is no one hundred percent promise of success. Unforeseen circumstances can cause a treatment to go wrong and sometimes sheer bad luck can cause an implant to go awry. To give yourself the best chance of a successful dental implant make sure your dentist is someone that you completely trust and who knows your full medical history. It is also strongly advised that you make sure you know everything about the procedure you are going to have performed. It is also imperative that you follow the advice of your practitioner to the letter. There are some things, such as smoking, which can seriously increase the chance of dental implant failure and so it is imperative that you note down exactly what your dentist tells you and faithfully follow the advice.

Warnings aside, dental implants are an almost completely safe treatment. There is very little risk involved and the success rate of these procedures is extremely high. Dental implants are very popular treatments and are seen as a more satisfactory, permanent and comfortable alternative to dentures etc. However, due to the popularity of the treatment, it is to be expected that a certain, small percentage of these treatments go wrong. Here are some of the most common ways in which it can happen:

Failure and Rejection

Probably the most common reason that dental implants go wrong is dental implant failure. This means that the pivotal process of osseointergration has not occurred properly. Osseointergration is the process which allows your jawbone and your implant to grow and ‘bind’ together, anchoring the base for your new tooth in a secure foundation. If this process does not occur it can lead to the loss of the implant, pain, tenderness and infection. Dental implant rejection/failure can occur at anytime during the healing process of your implant and even long after. There are a huge number of reasons why this might happen and these include:

  •  Infection – If you develop an infection at the site of your dental implant it is possible that the osseointergration process will not occur satisfactorily. An infection can be caused by an unskilled dentist, poor oral hygiene or even just the presence of certain bacteria already in your jawbone. Such an infection can be painful and if you believe you are suffering from an infection you should contact your dentist or doctor immediately.
  • Smoking – Smoking can seriously hamper the osseointergration process. Because smoking reduces blood flow and slows down bone healing it can mean that your implant is rejected. This is especially true if you are a heavy smoker. To reduce the risk of failure as much as possible you should quit smoking before your treatment. Your doctor will be able to give you advice about stopping smoking.
  • Gritting and Grinding your Teeth – This is a habit known as a bruxism. Grinding your teeth in this way will put strain on your unhealed implant and jawbone and can result in dental implant failure.
  • Poor Dental Hygiene – This can also cause your dental implants to fail. This can happen at any time, even after your implant has healed and osseointergrated. Ensure you follow your dentist’s oral care instructions and visit your dentist regularly for check ups.
  • Changes in your ‘Bite’ – Sometimes, over a long period of time, your ‘bite’ might change. This means that the shape of your jaw and mouth could alter. This is likely to cause problems with your dental implant/s and could cause them to fail.

Fractured Implants

Sometimes dental implants can fracture. Often this is something that takes place earlier rather than later in the process. Often these factors are a result of carelessness during your treatment. They can be caused by a number of things including:

  • Overloading
  • An excess of force during placement
  • Overheating of your jawbone
  • Poor bone quality

If you are unfortunate enough to experience a fractured dental implant you will need to have your broken implant dug out and have a new, larger implant put in the gap.

Mistaken Positioning

It is possible that your dentist may make a poor judgement about the placement of your dental implants. This is usually only problematic when you have more than one implant. If you are having a number of procedures performed your dentist will need to be very careful about where he places the implants as a wrong positioning could place undue strain in one area of your mouth which can ultimately result in overloading. This kind of mistaken positioning can lead to fracturing of your dental implants and/or their failure.

On the bright side, this kind of problem is not usual and with recent developments in technology, including modern scanning machinery, your dentist can get an even clearer idea about what is going on in your mouth. This makes the planning and positioning of dental implants far easier and far less likely to be problematic.

Other Problems

The other difficulties you may experience with your dental implants are even less common but could include things like fractured abutments (the point at which your implant and jawbone  are connected), unsuccessful or faulty restorations, defective implant screws, excessive external forces (a fall for example), along with a number of even less likely, more individual issues.


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