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Bad Teeth: Dental Implant Failure


Failed Dental Implants

The cause and effect relationships underlying dental implant failure are complex and can be quite confusing for patients considering this famed Gold Standard of Tooth Replacement.

Issues can include improper placements, using the wrong type, size, quantity, position or length of implant during surgery.

Fractured abutments, prosthetic failures, even tooth material (acrylic versus porcelain) can be a factor.

Surgical factors that affect the osseointegrative process, prior to loading, can cause an ultimate failure. Disease, oral health habits, smoking and friction (pontic or flipper causes friction on healing tissue) may cause a need for re-treatment.

This gallery contains examples of different types of implant failures that can occur in bridgework treatments (fixed bridges) or individual tooth replacements.



Roughly a 10 year old implant device that eventually failed due to tissue changes (bone loss) that eventually caused physical forces to operate in a near-lever-like situation where the implant sustained lateral forces. Once diagnosed, treatment was sought quickly, eliminating the high probability of bacteria accumulation and infection, which typically leads to even more bone loss.

Removal and replacement with a newer, improved implant device was accomplished in under two hours, along with supplemental tissue graft material to restore hard and soft tissues to their original density and height.


Mangled Twisted Failed Implant
Extracted Damaged Implant
Ara Nazarian, DDS


This is a good example of why suspicion of a loose implant needs to be investigated IMMEDIATELY. The first implant, which is now missing, was untreated for too long, causing the device to wobble around freely. Notice the wear down of porcelain on the 2nd implant crown, evidencing the severe amount of wobble that destroyed one implant, the bone surrounding that implant, gingival tissue, an adjacent crown and the adjacent implant device.

To restore the implant sites to optimal health, function and suitable cosmetic outcome, bone grafting, Guided Tissue Regeneration, soft tissue grafting, placement of new implant devices and new porcelain restorations will be required.


Loose implants destroy teeth
Negligent Implant Disaster
Kristin Petulla, DDS


A sad example of very botched dentistry performed on a young lady who had what could have been some minor periodontal issues. A general dentist placed the wrong type and size of implant into the bony ridge that was far too narrow. As can be seen, as soon as the gum tissues were moved over to expose the site, the jawbone in the implant site had been destroyed.

It is likely this degree of incompetence is due to lack of experience, grossly inadequate training and minimal access to advanced implant technologies. Removal and rehabilitation of the implant site was completed in one appointment that will later be restored as it would be by any implantologist with the required skills.


Bad Implant Surgery
Implant Surgery Incompetence
Edward Brant, DDS, MS


19 Year Implant Failure. Nineteen years of service from a dental implant is quite good really. Unfortunately, the lack of even the most basic routines of daily care, caused a mandibular implant to fail. Signs of infected tissue can be seen, along with an eruption of the implant device.

Repair and replacement options would require removal of the failed implant and infected tissue, tissue grafting to restore what was initially lost, new implant placement, mini implant placements, fixed bridge, overdenture, implant retained dentures.

Failed Mandibular Implant
Implant Failure
Ara Nazarian, DDS


Low profile implants are designed to be used in locations where bone height is lower than average. Two implants like this were placed in the molar area of the upper right maxilla. The patient's failure to treat teeth on the opposite side of the jaw, years later, caused unusual lateral forces upon these implants that caused them to fail.

Tooth restorations on short profile implants become "top heavy" (abutment and tooth height far exceeds implant height) which requires monitoring of the entire bite or occlusal plane to assure that no lateral or "sideways" forces operate upon other restorations or natural teeth.


Failed Low Profile Implant
Low Profile Implant Failure
Edward Brant, DDS, MS


Poorly designed implant configuration led to an overloading of the implant devices and, when coupled with inadequate oral hygiene habits, caused seepage of contaminants into the individual implant sites.

This is a good example of how dental implants, as wonderful as they are, do have unique hygiene needs to keep them healthy and fully functional. Patients who have been poor flossers would do well to invest in a water irrigation system such as WaterPik or HydroFloss to eliminate these kinds of problems.

Denture implants, for some patients, need to be kept free of food debris on a routine basis and should be implemented along the jaw bone to create the most stable foundation possible. More implants are better than fewer by virtue of the dentist's ability to distribute biting forces more effectively.


Implant site infection bacteria
Implant Load Failure
Richard Winter, DDS, MAGD


Implant bridge failure. What started out as a failed implant on one end of this bridge.... developed into a complete failure in about 9 months. The loose implant gradually caused the bridge device to move about, change occlusal relationships with the upper jaw and end up creating damage across the entire bridge. A complete failure that could have been avoided.

Repair and replacement options would require treating the failed implant, possible renewed grafting and implant replacement, treating infected tissues, replacement with a choice of multiple implants and crowns, cemented bridge product, a replacement implant supported bridge or denture product.

Total Bridge Failure - Negligence
Implant Bridge Failure caused by Negligence
Ara Nazarian, DDS






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