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Implant Failure


There are many ways to restore teeth, but implants are the only replacement known to replace roots of teeth. Proper placement and osseointegration (bone intergration) can provide hard and soft tissue stimulation preserving bone mass and keeping tissue healthy. However, due to multiple reasons, implants sometimes fail. An accurate diagnosis should be obtained as soon as an implant begins to fail.


Classification Of Implant Failure


There are three categories used to describe implant failure in root form implants. The first and most mild is ailing. An ailing implant is an implant starting to show signs of inflammation, redness around implant or abutment, and mild bone loss. The next is failing. This is when the implant is showing increased signs of bone loss. This should be corrected immediately, and the source of the problem should be uncovered. It could be poor hygiene, malocclusion (bad bite adjustments), infection, or that osseointegration did not fully complete. Bone should be grafted in the areas where it is resorbed and immediate implant rehabilitation should be started in order to save the implant. The final and most severe classification of implant failure is a failed implant. There is no solution for an already failed implant with mobility. It must be removed, new bone grafts placed, the site must be preserved and a new implant placed four months later.


Early Failure


This type of failure happens shortly after the implants are placed. When there is not enough water used during an implant procedure, the bone can overheat (necrosis). This is known as a technique error. Another technique error is using too much or not enough force, also known as torque, at the time of the procedure. Poor bone quality, insufficient or ineffective bone grafting, contamination during the procedure, and excessive force from chewing or biting pressure during the osseointegration process can all cause early implant failures. Improperly placed temporaries may result in excessive force upon the implant preventing osseointegration to happen at all.


Late Failure


Implants that become loose or fall out after a significant period of time usually succumb to excessive forces. This could be because of a shift in the way one bites down, or changes in resting position for upper and lower jaws, as well as posture when you sleep. Frequent clenching down and wear and tear on other teeth may also have something to do with the mobility of the implant. Function of the occlusal relationship is crucial for success of an implant.


An implant with a prosthesis, crown, or bridge on top of it may be failing due to the restoration itself. Abutments may require new screws, or the abutment and restoration may need to be remade in order to keep the integrity of the implant. An error in treatment planning can cause the use of incorrect implant sizes, types, quantity, positions and lengths. Causing over loading may result in failure or fracture as well. A fractured implant must be removed as soon as possible to avoid further trauma and damage to bone structures underneath.


A prosthetic failure is due to the prosthesis retained on the implant improperly. Large bridge work, or extensive crowning should be screwed into the abutments not cemented. Some failures are due to the materials used to fabricate the crown or bridgework and the opposing teeth. The teeth surrounding the implant are just as important to the health of that implant, as the implant itself. Dr. Koeppel looks at all of these factors before treatment planning a patient.


Restoring Failed Implants


When an implant has failed, it must be removed. Discolorations, seepage of bacteria, and damage to surrounding teeth and occlusal relationships can happen without early diagnosis and treatment of a failed implant. Once it is diagnosed, the site is re-prepared with more bone graft material and allowed to heal. A new implant is then placed in the site and also allowed to heal. This new implant might be a different type, size, width, and height to accommodate the site better. Repairs and replacements of these implant failures are completed by Dr. Koeppel, as soon as possible to restore the occlusal relationship between the upper and lower jaws.

It is crucial to maintain good oral health when you have implants and bridgework. It requires routine hygiene visits and at home habits to avoid accumulation of bacteria and infection.




Call our office at (631) 318-0000 to arrange a consult with Koeppel Dental Group to learn more about how to prevent implant failure. You can also use our Consult Request form to arrange an appointment.


Patients seeking specific answers or information related to the material on this page can also choose to contact Koeppel Dental Group directly with our Ask The Dentist form. Our Doctors will reply to you directly with the information you are seeking.


Poor Planning, Poor Angle, Challenging Case

Failed implant, wrong angle, cosmetic disaster

Broken Implant Screw Failure

Failed Implant after removal