Skip to main content

When it comes to dental implant failure, what are the signs, symptoms, and treatment options?

Well, the good news is, dental implant failure is extremely unlikely. Implant surgery is one of the most successful and predictable surgeries in dentistry, largely due to the fact that implant technology is so much more advanced than it was even just a few years ago (both in terms of the procedures and the implant materials), which translates to an extremely low failure rate.

But dental implant failure does happen from time to time, and it’s extremely important that you pursue proper treatment.

Dental implant surgery is a highly sophisticated process. It takes a strong skill level, and extensive experience  — especially when it comes to the number of implants the doctor has placed. And when dental implants fail, it takes special training to manage these cases and determine what the best treatment options.

Not all dentists who place implants have the additional skills for managing failed implants – that’s why it’s extremely important that patients seek out a dental implant specialist.

What Causes Dental Implants to Fail?

A few different things can cause dental implants to fail.

Early implant rejection happens before the bone finishes healing, and is most often due to the body rejecting a foreign substance or reacting to an undiagnosed metal allergy.

Late implant rejection, which happens after the bone heals, can be due to things like unsatisfactory home care or post-op trauma. Dental implants can fail due to a traumatic bite if the rest of the teeth are not properly positioned. Smoking may also be risk factor that can lead to dental implant failure.

Older implants may also fail: I’ve treated many patients whose implants were completed years ago by other providers – their implants were placed long before the technology was as advanced as it is now, and their new teeth simply didn’t stand the test of time.

Poor dental hygiene is another culprit. Although implants are not susceptible to decay since they’re not a natural tooth surface, patients still need to consider the bone support factor. Improper oral hygiene can lead to infections – and an infection that occurs around a dental implant can be detrimental to its longevity.

Although dental implant failure is rare—the average success rate for implants is around 95%, and it can go as high as 98% with a very skilled and experienced dentist—I always work with my patients to minimize the risk of implant failure long before surgery.

Due to the risks associated with the body’s rejection of dental implants, I ask patients about their previous experiences with surgery, as well as allergies to medications and metals. (This is also why I’m one of a few providers who also places non-metal zirconia implants for patients with potential metal allergies). I also discuss proper aftercare with my patients, as both immediate post-op care and long-term care are essential to the success of dental implants.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Dental Implant Failure?

Some signs that your dental implant may be failing include:

  • Loose or wobbly implants
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Packing food
  • Pain when biting
  • Difficulty chewing.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, contact a dental implant specialist right away.

Ailing implants can be fixed with therapeutic approaches, but failing implants likely need to be replaced.

If your implants are indeed failing, an implant specialist might suggest bone grafting (which can sometimes be done without removing the implant) or soft tissue grafts.

If you’ve had a dental implant in the past and you feel like it’s starting to fail, contact me today.

I’m a dental implant specialist and an expert at treating failed implants.

I can tailor a treatment plan around your dental implant needs, and get you back to a healthy mouth in no time flat.



  • BobbuBrowne says:

    Hello! Cool post, amazing!!!

  • Dr. Field says:

    Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Let me know if you’d like any other topics covered.

  • M Paterson says:

    It is my second day after having had two implants placed and I have had no pain at all though my temps feel pretty loose… going back tomorrow to be corrected. Is this normal?

    • Drs. Field, Hartley, and McFarlane says:

      Definitely call your dental implant provider to check in and make sure everything looks good! Glad to hear you’ve been pain free through the initial healing.

  • Darlene B says:

    I had an implant placed two weeks ago and had an Essex partial made to wear during the 4 month healing process. My jaw pops while I wear it so am looking for a dentist who can create a temporary crown in Milwaukee area. Can you make a recommendation ?

    • Dr. Field says:

      Thanks for your comment and checking out my blog. Unfortunately I don’t know anyone in the Milwaukee area! It may make the most sense to check with the dentist who placed your dental implant for a recommendation.

  • irene says:

    I had one implant placed and within a year the bone mater had receded. I had that one replaced and another one by it. The one by it had to taken out because of infection and the other one started to loose bone mater and its a little loose, both had not had the tooth placed on it since it was in the recovery stage. Now the dentist says he might have to take the one out that was replaced and put another one in the other spot. Will they ever work? Why are they failing since the success rate it so high. Thank You

    • Drs. Field, Hartley, and McFarlane says:

      I’m sorry to hear about the struggles you’ve experienced. If you’re near the Bay Area, please give my office a call 650-948-5524 and set up a complimentary consultation so I can evaluate your situation and see if we can help. I see a lot of patients with failing dental implants and with my expertise and technology I’m often able to get them the stable implants they need.

  • Jim says:

    I had an implant (#14) this past spring after a 9 months long prep with extraction, graft, bonding, etc. It had pain with torquing of the crown and then some pain all along until it greatly increased when biting three weeks ago. The tooth moves side to side somewhat. The dentist that placed it analyzed it yesterday and backed it out and filled the hole with graft material again. No infection, No apparent reason it failed. Good oral hygiene and practice. I had 9 xrays of that implant along the process, nothing bad to note. Implant is being sent to manufacturer (novel?) to analyze. I already have a titanium plate and screws in a knee so I doubt it’s an allergy to that. Dentist doesn’t want to implant again as she wants to know the failure reason so it doesn’t happen again.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • Drs. Field, Hartley, and McFarlane says:

      Thanks for your comment and reading my blog. Unfortunately I can’t diagnose the problem without seeing it for myself. If you’re located in the greater Bay Area or travel here, please call my office to set up a complimentary consultation so we can evaluate your situation and discuss options 650-948-5524. If you’re out of the area, don’t hesitate to get 2nd or 3rd opinions on your situation. Different providers have different tools and skill levels to be able to creatively treat patients. Good luck, and don’t hesitate to call if I can be of service!

  • rudy nun says:

    Good day,
    I have a question, I recently got the All-on-4 done both upper and lower ( almost 2 months ago )
    Yesterday while chewing on a piece of semi dry Mango a very low snap or crack sound from my upper plate.
    I do feel a little discomfort but no pain at all on the bone just above the implant it felt as if biting semi hard it was push in
    or at least the was the feeling……Is that possible? i do not have any swelling as of yet its been 12 hours.
    Would love your opinion….Thank you

    • Drs. Field, Hartley, and McFarlane says:

      You may want to call your dentist about anything unusual with your full mouth dental implants. It’s always better to check in and make sure! Let me know how I can help, and thanks for the comment!

    • Drs. Field, Hartley, and McFarlane says:

      Thanks for your comment and reading my blog. It’s always a good idea to contact your implant doctor if you’re hearing strange sounds when you eat. I would give your implant doctor a call and schedule an appointment to get things checked out. Feel free to contact our office if we can help.

  • Krina says:

    Hiii mom underwent implants surgery n 2 implants were placed..since the surgery was done under proper sterile condition n no sterilisation protocol was broken so there was no need for the antibiotic therapy post op.however after sutures were removed her gums over the implant site began to show little swelling but not associated with any pain n within 15days of implant placement one of the implant was out in d mouth while she was asleep…is this the case of implant failure or is it the allergy or rejection by the body..??

  • Krina says:

    Also note that there was no major infection or pus formation of any kind . Only little gum swelling n no pain at it likely for the implant to come out on its own without surgical removal…??

    • Drs. Field, Hartley, and McFarlane says:

      Thanks for the comment. It’s tough to say what happened without evaluating her directly. I’m sorry to hear that she had trouble with the implant staying in place! Typically implants have a high success rate. Feel free to schedule a complimentary consultation with me (650) 948-5524, I can take a look at her and discuss treatment options.

    • Drs. Field, Hartley, and McFarlane says:

      I am glad to hear no major infection occured. Feel free to call our office for more specific questions and we can give you a complimentary consulation.

  • Donna says:

    I have a implant in # 6, I am fine when I wake up. As soon as I go to the gym it swells up on the top and back all day. Not even motrin helps.

    • Drs. Field, Hartley, and McFarlane says:

      Sounds like the physical activity is causing the swelling. I would call your dentist who gave you the implant and see what he or she can offer you. I hope the swelling goes down soon.

    • Drs. Field, Hartley, and McFarlane says:

      Thanks for your comment and reading my blog. It’s always a good idea to contact your implant doctor if you’re having pain or anything unusual. Feel free to contact our office if we can help.

  • Adi says:

    hello sir , i had implants one year back , it is normal , even while chewing it is all good , just i am feeling a little disturbance like , a minute pain when i touch on the gums , also my wisdom tooth on it;s way , what should i do ?

    • Drs. Field, Hartley, and McFarlane says:

      I would recommend scheduling an appointment with your dentist so they can examine your teeth. Let me know if I can help in any way!

    • Drs. Field, Hartley, and McFarlane says:

      Thanks for your comment and reading my blog. It’s always a good idea to contact your implant doctor if you’re having pain or anything unusual. Feel free to contact our office if we can help.

  • Drs. Field, Hartley, and McFarlane says:

    Thank you for the comment! I appreciate your feedback.

Leave a Reply