What is Dental Implant Failure?

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When people refer to the failure of dental implant they are often referring to the failure of the osseointegration process. This could result in implant loss, movement of the implant or bone loss around the implant (called peri-implant bone less). An accepted measure for the failure of a dental implant due to peri-implant bone loss is a loss greater than 1mm in the first year and greater than 0.2mm the following year.

Sometimes implants can fail due to poor positioning at the surgical stage. This puts high pressure on areas of the mouth and teeth which are not supported. They can also be overloaded (too many teeth relying on one implant) which can result in failure to osseointergrate.

Implants can also fail even if they are placed correctly and not overloaded, just from use over time. There are certain teeth which you will use more than others, and if implants are holding prosthetics in place to replace these teeth they are likely to suffer wear and tear as the original teeth would. It is possible, although rare, that implants may break up after years of use. Regular reviews with your dentist should allow you to take preventative measures if your implant is deteriorating.

In around 5% of cases the body will reject the implant with cause unknown. The bone simply refuses to integrate with the titanium. It has been suggested that rejecting the implant is technically your body acting as it should do, rejecting a foreign body, as it is unknown why titanium is accepted in the majority of cases. With foreign bodies of other materials the body would attempt to reject with an active biological tissue response.

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