Dental implants are becoming increasingly popular as a method of restoring missing teeth. Oral surgeons or periodontists (dentists who specialize in gum disease and dental implants) use this technology to permanently attach natural-looking fake teeth that are tailored and color-matched to fit your smile. This multi-stage operation has a very high success rate, with 90%-95% of implants lasting for 15 years or beyond without trouble.

However, in some circumstances, dental implant failure can cause the implant to feel loose, causing chewing difficulty and pain, among other symptoms. Many variables, such as having specific medical conditions, infection at the implant site (peri-implantitis), or surgical complications, can increase the likelihood of this happening.

Dental implant failures fall into two categories. Early implant failures are caused by issues with the technique or osseointegration, which is the process by which bone material forms around the abutment and integrates into the structure. Late implant failures are usually the result of underlying health issues, as well as pressure on the prosthetic tooth.

1. Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding or gnashing, sometimes known as "bruxism," can jeopardize the success of a dental implant. Early pressure on the implant might compromise osseointegration, resulting in instability and implant failure.1 Managing this condition may be crucial to the success of the tooth replacement procedure.

2. Allergic Reaction

Rarely, do people develop allergic responses to the titanium used in the abutment. Titanium ions may travel to adjacent bones and tissues as the implant osseointegrates. In those who are sensitive, this can cause:

In severe cases, titanium allergy has systemic repercussions, causing necrosis (cell death in the bone), neurological disorders, chronic pain, and other problems.

3. Poor Impressions

The crown of the dental implant (the false tooth) must be exactly fitted to the surrounding teeth; a perfect fit is required. The dentist must take a good impression, which is a cast that is used to construct a replica of your teeth.

If something goes wrong during this process, the prosthetic tooth may not fit properly in your mouth, which can create a variety of problems and lead to implant failure.

4. Infection

Infection of the gums around the dental implant, known as peri-implant disease, can potentially result in implant failure. Bacteria in the mouth form along the abutment at and below the gum line, similar to periodontitis, eventually irritating and harming the surrounding tissue.

The primary types of peri-implant diseases:

  • Peri-implantitis mucositis: This occurs when there is simply inflammation and infection in the gums around the implant. It is distinguished by redness and soreness in certain locations, as well as bleeding when brushed. In most cases, it is curable and reversible.  
  • Peri-implantitis: If the infection is allowed to progress, it might begin to harm the underlying bone structure as well. This severely destabilizes the implant and is far more severe, necessitating surgery to repair it.

5. Nerve Damage

Surrounding nerves can become impacted or injured if something goes wrong during dental implant surgery. This might result in chronic discomfort, numbness, tingling, or sensory loss in the mouth. These circumstances may necessitate the consultation of an orofacial pain specialist, a dentist who specializes in pain disorders of the mouth, jaw, and face.

6. Implant Micromovement

Slight adjustments in the implant's position can potentially be a cause of failure. This occurs during the osseointegration process, which can take up to two weeks since the abutment remains flexible and vulnerable to pressure. This instability can worsen and have an impact on the dental implant's integration.

7. Medical Conditions

Underlying disorders can also cause dental implant failure, which is why a health check is required before surgery. Your body must be in excellent enough condition to withstand the impact and recuperate from implantation. 

Several factors raise the chances of problems and failure:

  • Certain cancers
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Smoking
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Poor dental health; gingivitis and/or periodontitis

8. An Inexperienced Surgeon

There isn't much room for error when it comes to a sophisticated, multi-stage treatment like dental implant surgery. Some dental implant failures are the result of the oral surgeon's error, such as improper abutment placement or unintended harm to surrounding tissues and bone.