Can a Dental Implant Be Replaced If Osseointegration Does Not Occur?

Dental Implants Lubbock, TX

A dental implant is considered a success when two things happen. The first is when bone grows around the implant in such a way that the implant effectively becomes engulfed in the bone. The second is when bone tissue melds with the surface of the dental implant on a histological level. Both these things must happen for the implant to become immovable. This process is called osseointegration, and it makes implants virtually as stable as natural teeth roots. 

Dental implant failure occurs when the implant fails to integrate with the bone. Since the implant is not fixed in place, it starts to move. The failure can also cause the jawbone to lose mass and density. But why do dental implants sometimes fail, and does replacing the failed implant do any good?

Why a dental implant fails

The overall success rate of dental implants is over 95%, according to statistics collected by the International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Only a small fraction of patients experience implant failure. Here are common causes for those failures:

  • Active oral health issues or a history of persistent oral health issues
  • Insufficient bone mass or bone density
  • Underlying medical conditions, such as arthritis or diabetes, that slow down the healing process and osseointegration
  • Infection at the surgical or implant site
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Bad oral habits such as smoking
  • Error on the part of the dentist or surgeon, such as poor planning and placement of the implant
  • Failure on the patient’s part to follow post-surgery instructions

One reason for the high success rate of dental implants is that most dentists screen patients for these risk factors. A good dentist will advise against dental implants if they observe a potential risk of implant failure, or they will at least take extra measures to make sure the implant succeeds. A competent dentist also advises patients to take prescribed measures to ensure implant success.

What happens when an implant fails?

Most implant failures occur within a year of dental implant surgery. When a failure occurs, the patient will notice that the artificial tooth is loose. Some individuals may have persistent pain, swelling, or infection. These signs should alert the person to see the dentist, who will perform an exam to check the health of the implant. An X-ray of the implant site may show a loss in bone mass.

If the implant is failing, the dentist may recommend an alternative way to replace the missing tooth. The practitioner and patient may also decide to simply replace the implant.

How successful is dental implant surgery the second time around?

A May 2016 study published in the "The International Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Implants" collected data from seven studies that covered more than 500 dental implant recipients with failed implants. All the patients got replacement implants after the failure of their first one. The success rate among this diverse group of patients from different studies ranged from 71% to 95%. The patients remained under observation after the replacements. The observation and follow-up period ranged between three and five years, depending on the study. The results of these studies revealed strategies that may help improve success rates in the future.

How can the dentist and patient help ensure success?

Certain measures can increase the likelihood of a successful dental implant. First, a dentist will clean the implant socket and remove all possible sources of infection using antibacterial agents or laser treatment. They will also clear the socket of any soft-tissue growth that may coat the implant and ultimately obstruct osseointegration.

A dentist or oral surgeon may also mitigate a lack of vascularity around the implant site and try to increase blood supply to the area. Alternatively, the dental surgeon might opt to administer treatments that stimulate growth. Examples of such treatments are bone growth proteins and platelet-derived growth factors.

Most importantly, the dentist will give strict, specific directions concerning after-care that the patient must follow. This is vital for helping the implant to take in the jaw and for osseointegration to take place.

Find a dentist who will help you have a good outcome

Dental implant surgery should be performed by a dental professional with skill, experience, and good judgment. Patients should get in touch today with a professional clinic to find a dentist who can fix a failing dental implant and execute a tooth replacement that will serve the patient for a long time.

Request an appointment here: or call High Plains Periodontics And Implant Dentistry at (806) 686-1262 for an appointment in our Lubbock office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Dental Implant in Lubbock, TX.

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