Dental Implant Failure: What Are the Signs and How Can I Prevent It? By Mike Meek, DDS on June 17, 2023

Digital rendering of implant in jaw

At 38th Street Dental in Austin, TX, we can place and revise dental implants so patients can enjoy a beautifully restored smile. However, dental implant failure is often a concern for patients as they embark on their smile restoration journeys. Learn more about the signs of implant failure and how to minimize your risks.

What Is Implant Failure?

In order to be successful, the titanium post must fuse to the jawbone in a process called osseointegration. This typically takes about three to six months. Implant failure occurs when the dental implant fails to fuse to the bone or if the site becomes infected. 
There are two types of implant failure:

  • Early Implant Failure - Early implant failure occurs early in the healing process, usually within the first few weeks to a year.
  • Late Implant Failure - Late implant failure typically occurs one to three years following placement. 

What Are the Signs of Dental Implant Failure?

Signs of dental implant failure may vary from person to person. Here are a few symptoms to watch out for that may indicate you are experiencing implant failure:

  1. Gum inflammation
  2. Excessive bleeding or bleeding that does not stop (remember some bleeding is normal)
  3. Increased swelling (again, some swelling is expected after implant placement)
  4. Gum recession
  5. Lose implant or lose restoration (dental crown, dental bridge, or denture)
  6. Severe pain or discomfort that is not managed with medication or other pain relief measures

How Common Is Implant Failure?

While implant failure is a risk of implant surgery, the good news is that implant failure is not very common.

Generally, it is estimated that between five to ten percent of patients experience implant failure. However, according to a study in the Journal of Medicine and Oral Surgery, between 2014-2020, of the patients studied, only 3.11% of patients experience implant failure.

What Can Cause Dental Implant Failure?

There are several things that can cause dental implant failure, including:


Peri-implant mucositis is when the implant and site become infected. This is the most common cause of implant failure. When caught early enough, this infection can be treated which can prevent implant failure. 

Poor Care or Oral Hygiene

Poor care or oral hygiene following your dental implant surgery can increase your risks of infection, which can increase your chances of implant failure. 

Insufficient Bone Tissue

Dental implants need sufficient jawbone material to graft with. Implant failure can happen when the posts do not have a sufficient amount of bone material. All-on-4® dental implants allow many patients with mild-to-moderate bone loss to undergo implant placement without bone grafting. 

Medical Conditions 

Patients with medical conditions such as autoimmune disorders, poorly controlled diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis may have an increased risk of implant failure simply because they are at a higher risk of developing infections and may experience slower healing. 

Oral Health Issues

Issues such as gum disease and tooth decay can have a negative effect on your dental implants. That is why it is important to address these concerns before dental implant placement. At 38th Street Dental, I offer comprehensive treatment options to help you achieve optimal oral health before your dental implant surgery. 

Tobacco Use

Smoking, dipping, and other tobacco use can have dire consequences for your oral and overall health. It is strongly suggested that you quit all tobacco products.

Improper Implant Placement

Improper implant placement can increase the risk of implant failure. I use state-of-the-art dental technology to help ensure the best placement possible for your dental implants. I am also an educator for Nobel Biocare®, a leader in implant dentistry. I have extensive training and experience in dental implants and use my knowledge to educate other dental professionals on proper dental implant techniques.

Allergic Reaction

It is very important that patients with any metal sensitivities discuss this with me before their implant treatment. Allergic reactions to the metal implant posts can cause implant failure. However, there are other options that may be better in your unique situation.

Can Implant Failure Be Prevented?

While it is impossible to guarantee your dental implants will be successful, there are some things you can do to minimize your risk of implant failure.

  • Quit Tobacco Products - Tobacco use has been linked to an increased risk of dental implant failure. Tobacco products can impact your body’s ability to heal. It is best to quit using all tobacco products before your dental implant surgery. 
  • Ensure Health Conditions Are Under Control - If you have health conditions such as diabetes, it is best to ensure that it is under control before your implant placement. This will ensure your safety and help minimize implant failure risks.
  • Find a Skilled Provider - Placement can make a difference in the success of your dental implants. I combine my knowledge and education with advanced dental technology to give my patients the highest level of care possible and the best possible chance of a successful outcome.
  • Practice Good Oral Hygiene - Poor oral hygiene can put you at risk for tooth decay, gum disease, and infections. By properly brushing and flossing and undergoing regular exams, you can keep your mouth healthy and increase your odds of your dental implants fusing to the jawbone and healing. 
  • Follow All Aftercare Instructions After Implant Placement - It is very important that you follow all the aftercare instructions we give you following dental implant placement. This will help give you the best possible chances of success and help you heal quickly. 

Dr. Tasch showing patient x-rays on monitor

Have You Experienced Implant Failure?

If you have experienced dental implant failure, implant revision may be possible. During your consultation at my Austin dental practice, I will look over your history, examine your mouth, and discuss your goals to develop a custom treatment plan and decide if implant revision is right for you.

In some cases, this may mean a different approach such as All-on-4 implants instead of the traditional technique. You may also require preparatory treatment like periodontal care or bone grafting to increase your chances of a successful revision. 

Considering Dental Implants or an Implant Revision? Get in Touch.

Dental implants can dramatically improve your smile and restore your oral health and function. While implant failure is a risk, there are steps you can take to minimize the risks and symptoms to be aware of to stop it from progressing. Get started on your implant journey by calling our Austin dental practice or by contacting us online



Dr. C. Mike MeekAbout C. Mike Meek, DDS
Dr. Mike Meek is a dental implant authority who lectures nationally for Nobel Biocare on the subject. He has a Fellowship with the Academy of General Dentistry.

Read Dr. Meek's Full Bio | All Posts by Dr. Mike Meek

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The team at 38th Street Dental

38th Street Dental

38th Street Dental in Austin, TX, utilizes the latest proven technology to provide you personalized dental care. Dr. Meek and Dr. Tasch are members of local and national dental associations, including:

  • The American Dental Association
  • The Texas Dental Association
  • The Academy of General Dentistry
  • The Capital Area Dental Society

To schedule an appointment, call us at (512) 458-6222 or contact us online today!

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