As a dental professional, I have encountered numerous dental implant cases in my practice. Dental implants have become the go-to solution for many patients seeking to replace missing teeth and restore their smile. However, despite their high success rate, dental
implant failures do happen. So yes it's not always the 'fault' of the dentist believe it or not.
However a dentist who's committed to finding out such reasons is well armed to ensure that there is a methodical way to ensuring long term success of the implant surgeries he or she undertakes.
In this article, I will share six real-life patient stories to shed light on the biological reasons behind dental implant failure.
Before diving into the patient stories, let's look at some common reasons for dental implant failure. These can be broadly categorised into two groups: early failure (within a few months of the surgery) and late failure (after the implant has successfully integrated with the bone).
Early failure reasons:
Inadequate bone density or volume
Poor surgical technique
Infection around the implant site
Implant rejection or allergic reaction
Late failure reasons:
Peri-implantitis (inflammation and bone loss around the implant)
Implant fracture or mechanical failure
Excessive biting forces
Poor oral hygiene
Now, let's explore three patient cases where we identified biological reasons for their dental implant failure.
Patient Story #1: Jane's Infection
Jane, a 52-year-old woman, came to our practice with a dental implant that had failed after just four months. Upon examination, we discovered an infection at the implant site. After conducting tests, we identified the presence of harmful bacteria that had caused the infection. We concluded that Jane's implant failure was due to the infection, which impeded the implant's ability to integrate with her jawbone.
To resolve Jane's case, we first treated the infection with antibiotics and then performed a thorough cleaning of the implant site. After a few weeks, we reassessed her situation and found that her bone had healed, allowing us to place a new dental implant successfully after 3 months.
Patient Story #2: Mike's Allergic Reaction
Mike, a 45-year-old man, experienced implant failure after two months. Upon investigation, we discovered that Mike was experiencing an allergic reaction to the titanium alloy used in his implant. This rare occurrence led to his body rejecting the implant, resulting in early failure.
To address Mike's issue, we removed the titanium implant and replaced it with a zirconia implant (Zeramex), which is hypoallergenic. Mike's new ceramic implant successfully integrated with his jawbone, and he has not experienced any issues since.
Patient Story #3: Sarah's Peri-implantitis
Sarah, a 62-year-old woman, had been living with her dental implant for five years before experiencing failure. In her case, we discovered that she had developed peri-implantitis, a condition characterised by inflammation and bone loss around the implant. This bone loss ultimately led to the late failure of her implant.
To treat Sarah's peri-implantitis, we performed a deep cleaning around the implant site and prescribed antibiotics to control the infection. Additionally, we educated Sarah on the importance of maintaining proper oral hygiene to prevent future issues. Once her bone loss was under control, we placed a new dental implant, which has remained stable and healthy.
In conclusion, understanding the biological reasons behind dental implant failure is crucial to addressing the issue effectively. As a dental professional, I always strive to identify the underlying causes of failure to provide the best possible care to my patients. Maintaining open communication and following a tailored treatment plan can help ensure successful dental implant outcomes.
Patient Story #4: Emily's Calcium Imbalance
Emily, a 38-year-old woman, came to our practice with a dental implant that had failed after six months. In reviewing her medical history, we discovered that Emily had been taking medication to treat hepatitis. As part of our investigation, we conducted blood tests and found that her calcium levels were significantly lower than normal. This was a crucial factor because calcium is essential for proper bone formation and healing around the implant.
We concluded that Emily's medication interfered with her calcium levels, leading to poor bone density around the implant site and ultimately causing the implant to fail. To address Emily's situation, we consulted with her physician to adjust her medication regimen and prescribed calcium supplements. After a period of monitoring her calcium levels and ensuring they returned to normal, we successfully placed a new dental implant.
Patient Story #5: Tom's Vitamin D Deficiency
Tom, a 57-year-old man, experienced dental implant failure two years after the initial surgery. During our investigation, we conducted a series of blood tests that revealed Tom had a severe vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays a vital role in calcium absorption and bone health, so his deficiency likely contributed to the implant's inability to remain stable within the jawbone.
To help Tom, we first prescribed vitamin D supplements to address his deficiency. After monitoring his vitamin D levels and ensuring they returned to normal, we proceeded with a new dental implant procedure. This time, the implant successfully integrated with Tom's jawbone, and he has not encountered any problems since.
Patient Story #6: Laura's Bruxism-Induced Implant Failure
Laura, a 49-year-old woman, had successfully lived with her dental implant for four years before experiencing late failure. Upon examination and a thorough review of her dental and medical history, we discovered that Laura had undiagnosed bruxism, a condition where she unconsciously clenched and ground her teeth while sleeping. Bruxism can generate excessive biting forces, placing significant stress on dental implants and the surrounding bone.
In Laura's case, her bruxism led to an increase in mechanical stress on her implant, which over time caused the implant to become loose and eventually fail. To address her situation, we first needed to manage her bruxism. We provided Laura with a custom-made nightguard to wear while sleeping, which helped to protect her teeth and reduce the pressure on her jaw.
After monitoring Laura's progress and ensuring her bruxism was under control, we placed a new dental implant. This time, with the nightguard in place and Laura's bruxism managed, her dental implant successfully integrated and has remained stable since.
Laura's story highlights the importance of identifying and addressing underlying issues that can contribute to late dental implant failure.
These additional patient stories underscore the importance of considering various factors that can contribute to dental implant failure. As a dental professional, I continually strive to be thorough in my investigations and provide personalised treatment plans to help ensure successful dental implant outcomes for all my patients. Unfortunately, sometimes we can only find out after the first dental implant stage has been done. But I am focussed on finding out the reasons as to why an implant can fail for an individual and pride myself on always investigating this thoroughly.
Keywords: dental implant failure, calcium levels, hepatitis medication, vitamin D deficiency, patient stories, dental professional, dental implant failure, biological reasons, patient stories, early failure, late failure, infection, allergic reaction, peri-implantitis