Preventing Dental Implant Failure

According to the American College of Prosthodontists, approximately 120 million American are missing at least one tooth. If you're on such American, after speaking with your dentist, you may have decided that a dental implant is the best option to help you create a beautiful smile. Dental implants have several advantages, including their natural appearance, durability, and easy, low-maintenance care. However, even after the implant was expertly placed, there are instances when the implant can fail.

Here are a few issues that lead to dental implant failure and ways you can avoid it.


Your dentist takes all the precautions necessary to prevent infection during your implant surgery. Once your implant is placed, it is up to you to prevent an infection. Here are a few post-operative steps you can take to ensure your implant doesn't fail because of an infection:

Eat soft food while your mouth heals. Ask your dentist how long to remain on a soft food diet after your implant surgery. Avoid foods and beverages that are high in sugar or carbohydrates.

Avoid smoking. The chemicals found in smoking or chewing tobacco inhibit your body's ability to heal after your surgery. If you're having trouble quitting, talk to your doctor.

Rinse with salt water. Salt water is a safe way to gently remove infection-causing bacteria from your mouth. Ask your dentist when it is safe to begin rinsing after surgery.

Recognizing the symptoms of a post-surgical infection and treating it quickly can help prevent dental implant failure. Contact your dentist immediately if you experience severe pain, excessive bleeding the day after the surgery, swelling, or persistent fever.

Certain Illnesses and Medications

Talk to your dentist about any conditions or medications that can impact your body's ability to heal after the surgery. For example, anticoagulant medications, including warfarin or heparin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, including the over-the-counter pain reliever ibuprofen, and several vitamin and mineral supplements can impact blood clotting during and after surgery.

Several autoimmune conditions, including lupus, diabetes, and Celiac disease, can raise the risk of an implant failing. A previous history of gum disease impacts your mouth's health and the ability for the implant to remain successfully attached.

Your dentist and doctor can work together to minimize the risk during surgery and prevent dental implant rejection. This could include stopping any medications in the days before the implant surgery or finding ways to treat any illnesses that increase your risk of implant failure.

Improper Oral Hygiene

Post-operative sensitivity and discomfort is a common issue. To avoid causing additional pain, you might consider altering your oral hygiene routine until you've healed. Continuing to brush your teeth, floss, and visit your dentist for post-implant checkups will reduce your risk of implant rejection. Proper oral hygiene reduces the bacteria in your mouth.

Switching to a soft-bristled brush and brushing more gently can help you avoid experiencing any pain while you continue to protect your teeth.

Implant Rejection

Finally, in rare cases, your body may reject the implant or suffer an allergic reaction. Rejection occurs when your body sees the implant as invasive and doesn't allow it to fuse with the surrounding tissue. The symptoms of rejection can sometimes mirror an infection and include a fever and swelling.

Modern dental implants are manufactured from titanium, a metal that is less prone to rejection and allergic reactions. Some implants contain a small amount of nickel, which can lead to an allergic reaction in a small percentage of patients. Signs of an allergic reaction include swelling and a stinging sensation. Talk to your dentist if you have any allergies to titanium or nickel.

Dental implant failure is an issue you may face. Luckily, there are several ways you can minimize your chances of implant failure, including talking to your dentist before surgery.