Why do dental implants fail?

Dental implants are used as a permanent replacement for a missing tooth or multiple teeth. In the vast majority of cases, over 95 percent in fact, it is successful over the long term. Our success rate is a little higher than that, so we consider dental implants to be a very viable procedure for replacing teeth.

However, as with any surgical procedure there is a small chance of failure. While less than 5 percent, it is still higher than we would like. So why do dental implants fail and is there anything we can do to prevent it?

Generally speaking, dental implants will fail because of:

  • Failed osseointegration
  • Infection
  • Tissue or nerve damage

Other rare situations such as allergies, or sinus issues can affect dental implants but these are very unusual.

Failed Osseointegration

Osseointegration is the process of where the bone of the jaw connects with the implant to hold it into place. This is the process that takes the time and is essential to get right. We need the bone to fuse with the base of the implant so it is held firmly in place and can function as a normal tooth.

If for some reason the bone doesn’t fuse correctly the procedure could be compromised. That is why we are so careful to check bone density and your physiology before we undertake a dental implant procedure. All so we can minimize this risk.

Osseointegration can also fail due to overloading. This is where pressure is put onto the dental implant before the implant has fused. This can compromise healing and cause complications. Sometimes we can perform immediate loading which can avoid this issue but not every case is suitable. It is something we would discuss at a consultation.


Infection is a constant health challenge to the medical profession. Even in the cleanest of environments, infection can be introduced in many ways. Here at Aesthetic Family Dentistry, we take every precaution imaginable to avoid infection but it is nevertheless a constant risk.

For dental implants, if infection is introduced into the mouth before, during or after the procedure, it can cause inflammation of the gum, called periodontal disease. If infection occurs, the implant may have to be removed while the infection is treated. That’s why we talk so much about oral health and looking after your implants while they heal. All so you can avoid infection as much as possible.

Tissue or nerve damage

Tissue or nerve damage is exceptionally rare in dental implant procedures but it does happen. We mitigate against it as much as possible, but it is a risk nonetheless. When a nerve or surrounding tissue suffers damage it can cause discomfort. In even rarer circumstances, we may need a further procedure to address the issue.

Dental implants are successful over 95 percent of the time and are a very safe and viable procedure. However, it’s only right that you are aware of the potential risks. If you are considering dental implants, we would be happy to discuss everything in great depth at a consultation. Call us at 973 627 3617 to schedule and appointment.