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Dental implants are presented to patients as perfect or near perfect replacements to their missing teeth. Rarely are they informed of the risks and counseled on the failure rates. The procedures can have serious consequences and is not perfect. Implants can and do fail. Patients need to be thoroughly informed about the risks and understand that dental implants can fail. With proper planning, implant placement is very predictable, safe and creates a functional and esthetic result for patients.You may want to check out Diamond Dental Associates LLC-Dentist for more.

Dental Implants have come a long since their inception in the 1950’s. Dental implant technology is changing at an incredibly fast rate. As each new technology is adapted, dental implant success usually improves. Occasionally a technology comes into the marketplace that is mostly great marketing and either doesn’t not improve the success or actually hinders it. Fortunately that doesn’t happen very often.

So what makes dental implants fail ? There are a number of factors that lead to an increased risk of dental implant failure. Unfortunately some of the risks are not avoidable and that is why dental implants are about 90-95% successful based on various studies (the number is actually closer to 95%). As with long bone fractures, even with the best approximation of the fracture and great immobility, some fractures simply aren’t healed when the cast is removed. Either a non-union occurs (meaning no healing ever really started) or a fibrous union occurs (where instead of bone between the two sides of the fracture you have scar tissue). Depending on the type and where the fracture is and the patient, non-unions and fibrous unions occur about 5% of the time. That is similar to the failure rate of dental implants.

The same principles of healing from a fracture are congruent with the healing of an implant. You need good approximation of the bone to the implant surface and a period of immobility to have a successful osseointegration of the implant. Osseointegration means the bone accepted the implant and incorporates itself around the implant. As you can see, the failure rate of implants is similar to the rate of fractures not healing properly. You can get failure of the bone to osseointegrate (similar to non-unions) and instead of bone around an implant you get a fibrous encapsulation (similar to the fibrous union in bone fractures).

However certain conditions that increase the risk of implant failure are poorly controlled diabetes, some bone metabolic and congenital disorders, certain medications like glucocorticoids (prednisone), immunosupressants and bisphosphonate medications (Zometa, Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, etc.) Additionally, smoking and poor hygienic habits can lead to an increased risk of implant failure. People with these disorders and/or on these medications should bring those to the attention of their implant surgeon so a treatment plan can be tailored to fit their needs and their medical conditions.

There are other factors that can lead to an increase in dental implant failure. Implants can fail early on in the healing phase or late. Early failures would be defined as any time before osseointegration occurs (healing phase) or at the time the crown is affixed to the implant. Late failure is defined as any time after the implant with the tooth is under function.