Can implants fail? – Faircourt Dental Smile Studio

Can implants fail?

It’s an unusual occurrence, but implants can fail. Once a dental implant has integrated with the jawbone and gums, it may seem indestructible. It’s not. Though they can endure much more bite force than natural teeth, implants have limits and can fail under circumstances we can sum up with the word overload. That’s dental-speak for stress on the implant severe enough to cause failure. Overload can cause any or all of the following:

    1. liLoss of bone around the implant (which can also be caused by excessive bite force in the presence of gum disease, insufficient healing time, poor health, or smoking).
    2. liScrew loosening. The titanium implant, once integrated with the jawbone, is fitted with an abutment that is screwed into the implant. A crown is then cemented on top of the abutment. For many reasons, the screw is the weakest

link in the system and is usually the area where material fatigue occurs. The screw may actually loosen. Often, replacing the screw with a new one is all that’s needed.

However, gaining access to the screw may require us to drill a small hole through the crown. In that case, once the screw is replaced, we can fill the hole with a white filling. Typically, it doesn’t show, and there’s no need to replace the crown.

  1. liScrew fracture. The screw holding the abutment and crown in place can snap or break, though this occurs rarely—in about one-half of 1 percent of implants.
  2. liPorcelain crown fracture. The artificial tooth attached to the post may crack under great pressure.
  3. liLoosening of the crown. Overload (excess pressure) or certain technical issues can cause a break in the crown’s cement seal, as can bite-related problems. Recementing the crown solves the immediate problem.

And sometimes, we just don’t know why an implant doesn’t work. It can be the surgical technique used, changes in body chemistry, hormonal changes . . . it could be a thousand things. It doesn’t happen very often, and implants can be replaced. The fact that it didn’t work once doesn’t mean it won’t work in the future.