Dental implants can fail due to a variety of reasons. A failure can mean a lot of trouble for the patient as well as the dentist. Hence it is important to know what causes their failure. Given below are 6 critical causes for tooth implant failure.
1. Inadequate Diagnosis of the Jawbone & Improper Positioning Of the Socket
For a successful implant a patient should have proper bone depth and mass. The implant cannot be placed on a thin bone. A thin bone needs strengthening to provide the adequate depth and bone mass where the implant can be inserted. This can only be done when the bone depth is diagnosed correctly. The right position to place the implant has to be identified. This is done with a combination of x-rays and scans. The dentist must be able to build up a multidimensional image which will enable him to identify the right position for the implant. He must take care to avoid positioning the implant too close to the neighboring teeth or it will affect all. He must also take care to choose a socket position which does not affect the nerves and blood vessels in any way. The x-rays and scans are also necessary to determine the width of the jawbone at the point where the implant is supposed to be inserted. A narrow jawbone will require strengthening with bone grafting material. The diagnosis should also take into account if it’s possible to align the implanted artificial tooth with the neighboring teeth. This is absolutely necessary to distribute the pressure from bite evenly. An uneven alignment will result in tooth implant failure.
2. Failure of the Osseointegration Process
Osseointegration is the process of attachment of the implant to the jawbone. This happens when the bone cells, the osteoblasts build new bone around the inserted implant. The process of formation of new bone can get affected due to a variety of reasons. They are – improper or loose positioning of the implant leaving a gap between the implant and the surrounding bone, the use of insufficient amount of bone grafting substance and pressure (due to lateral loading, immediate loading, overloading, uneven loading, biting and chewing).
3. Poor Quality of the Jaw Bone
The jaw bone should be strong and have good bone mass. A weak jawbone which is due to poor bone mass will take a long time to heal or it will fail to heal completely. Weak jawbone takes a long time to build new bone around the excavated hole (socket) where the implant is placed. Even if new bone is built it will not be strong enough to withstand the pressure from biting. Care must be taken to determine the strength of the bone. If it is weak then it has to be strengthened with proper bone grafting material. This material helps in building new bone faster.
4. Infection of the Implanted Area
If the implanted portion of the jawbone is infected then the implant will become loose. The infection prevents the formation of new bone mass at the implant socket. Infection leads to tooth implant failure and will necessitate a repeat of the surgery and a possible new implant. Infection can happen due to the bacteria which live in the mouth especially between the teeth and at the gum. Alternatively a contaminated implant or contaminated bone graft material will also lead to infection and disease. An infection at the implant can also damage the inferior alveolar nerve and blood vessels that lie below the implant. If this happens, the only remedy is to remove the implant and wait for the socket to heal. The oral mucosa around the jawbone must be healthy and strong. If it is infected or if it gets infected during the implant surgery, then it will result in a loose implant.
Another point to note is the quality of surgery performed by the dentist or the orthodontist. An imperfect surgery will leave the implant loose leaving it open to infection. It will also damage the surrounding nerves, blood vessels or the neighboring teeth. In such a scenario, a large area gets infected and apart from the implant several other teeth will also suffer.
To prevent post surgical infection, the patient is administered proper medicine and is also prescribed some. The patient should take these medicines consistently as directed. Failure to take the medicine as directed will lead to infection and weaken the area around the implant socket. Apart from taking medicines as directed, the patient also needs to follow good oral hygiene practices.
5. Poor Quality of the Implant
Dental implants can be of good quality or poor quality. Quality implants cost more, perhaps several hundred times more than cheaper implants. That is why they are not preferred by many patients. Cheaper implants of poor quality pose several risks. They can break and fragment into pieces, complicating the healing process. A broken implant has to be removed as quickly as possible as it will lead to an infection. The broken implant will become loose and its parts will affect the surrounding teeth as well. Poor quality is another reason for tooth implant failure.
6. The Health Factors
The health of the patient undergoing the dental implant surgery should be normal. He should not suffer from diabetes, vitamin deficiency which weakens the bones. And should not be suffering from an infection of the gums. Soft, bleeding gums make the task of dental implants perilous and almost impossible. The patient should not have habits like Bruxism (grinding of the teeth or tightly clutching the teeth) and smoking (smoking not only causes yellow stains, it interferes with the healing process). The oral mucosa surrounding the jawbone must be healthy. A thin mucosa lining will not be able to absorb the pressure transferred from the teeth to the implant resulting in tooth implant failure.