Despite massive improvements in dental care, millions of people around the world still suffer from tooth loss. Thankfully, a new and breakthrough treatment option is available for those who have lost all or part of their teeth. Dental implant procedure is considered the go-to treatment for many people nowadays.

Essentially, dental implants are replacement tooth roots. The dental implant procedure provides a robust foundation for permanent (fixed) or removable replacement teeth. They are also designed to mimic the appearance and function of the natural teeth. Dental implants have a very high success rate.

However, some people also experience dental implant failure. The percentage is very minimal, only around 5 to 10 percent. Numerous factors can impact the success of a dental implant procedure. Some of the likely factors include:

Gum Disease

Healthy gums are required for the dental implant procedure to be successful. You also can’t have a dental implant procedure if you have active gum disease. Gum disease is an infection that can cause damage to the jawbone and gums.

If an untreated infection develops around the implant, it can also lead to dental implant failure. It is recommended that you inform your dentist about any gum problems you may have before you proceed with the surgery.


Smoking can also cause dental implant failure since it can restrict the flow of blood to the gums. As a result, the healing process slows down dramatically. Many research studies have shown that smokers have a 20% chance of dental implant failure.

However, you are not automatically ineligible for dental implants if you are a smoker. If anything, you have a better chance of success if you stop smoking at least a few weeks before the procedure and not smoke for at least two months after.

Insufficient Jawbone

A successful dental implant procedure will also depend if you have sufficient jawbone to support the implant. Without sufficient bone, the surgeon won’t be able to successfully place the implant in your jaw.

Bone loss can also occur with osteoporosis. The condition can develop when the density of the bone decreases. Bones can also become fragile. When this happens, there is also a bigger risk of fractures. Severe gum disease may also result in the deterioration of bones in the mouth.

Medical Conditions

Dental implant failure can also occur when you have an autoimmune disease or conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. These autoimmune conditions can often cause the body to heal at a much slower pace. Slow healing can also affect osseointegration—the successful fusing of the bones and the implant.

The use of certain medications might also lead to dental implant failure. That said, it is important to inform your dentist if you are taking over-the-counter or prescription medications. In 2016, a study found out that heartburn medications can reduce growth of new bones.

This also affects how the implant fuses with the jawbone. Another research also reported the same results in people taking antidepressant medications.

Poor Oral Hygiene

The ability to practice good oral hygiene can also greatly impact the success of the procedure. At times, you will not be considered a good candidate for the procedure if you have certain limitations that can affect your range of motion or can interfere with your ability to clean your teeth thoroughly.

Also, there is a higher chance of dental implant failure if you work with an inexperienced surgeon. An experienced surgeon knows how many implants are needed to support the tooth replacement. This is key as few implants might cause excessive stress and lead to failure.

Susana N. Tolbert