Unfortunately, few things in life are guaranteed – including many medical and dental procedures. But although it’s not 100% guaranteed, there is one procedure that at least has a 98% success rate: dental implants. However, the catch is that there are still some patients with risk factors that account for the 2% failure rate. So, what are these factors and who is a good candidate for implants? Keep reading to learn about the most common reasons for implant failure and whether implants are right for you!
What Are the Risk Factors For Implant Failure?
Here are some of the potential reasons an implant may fail:
- Tobacco use – Smokers have a significantly lower success rate (about 85%) because they don’t heal as well as non-smokers. Healing properly is crucial during the 3-6 month integration phase when an implant “fuses” with the surrounding bone. If this phase isn’t successful, the implant may not “take.”
- Inadequate bone – If a patient has lost too much bone mass in their jaw, they may not have enough bone left to support an implant.
- Clenching and grinding – Moderate to severe clenching and grinding at night can put too much force on an implant, causing it to shift or become loose. However, in many cases, a night guard can protect an implant from this risk.
- Professional error – Although rare, sometimes a dentist makes an error that causes failure. All the more reason to choose an implant dentist with advanced training in the periodontal field!
- Infection – If the area surrounding an implant isn’t kept clean, it has a higher chance of becoming infected, which can lead to failure.
- Certain health conditions – Certain conditions such as immune or autoimmune disorders can also jeopardize an implant’s success.
Are You a Good Candidate For Implants?
If you fall into one of the above categories, don’t assume that implants won’t work for you! Every patient is unique and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, so the best way to determine if you’re a good candidate is to schedule a consultation with an implant dentist.
They’ll spend time looking at your medical and dental history, evaluating your needs and goals, and weighing any factors that could reduce your chance of success. With that information, they’ll be able to recommend the best type of treatment (implant or otherwise) for you.
Implants are an outstanding tooth replacement option and have an incredibly high success rate. Being aware of the risk factors and closely following your dentist’s instructions is the best way to put the already great odds of success even more in your favor!
About the Author
Dr. Michelle Zmick is a periodontist and implant dentist who is a leader in her field. In addition to 30 years of clinical experience, she also lectures on various periodontal topics at the university level. She’s proud of her track record of placing countless implants that look and feel great for decades. If you have any questions about implant failure, she can be reached via her website or (847) 915-3080.