Why Do Dental Implants Have Failure Rates?

by Andrew Mueller, DMD, MD | Feb 22, 2021

Kim Caldwell: Hi, I’m here today with Dr. Andrew Mueller, an oral surgeon from the Doctors Implants. Our topic today is to talk about full arch dental implants. Something that people don’t like to talk about but it happens, when dental implants fail. Sometimes it happens. What kind of things cause a dental implant to fail?

Dr. Mueller: Yeah. So at the end of the day the implant, the bone that surrounds the implant, has to be able to support the load distributed to it. So every time we bite, that forces and distributed down to the implant that goes to the bone and we’re going to bite and go through roughly a million chewing cycles a year. And so the bone has to be able to withstand that repetitive constant loading. When we see dental implants fail, unfortunately the most common reason that I see is they just weren’t placed in the right location. There isn’t enough bone surrounding it to withstand that load. After the surgery’s been done and now we go and we actually are going to put a crown on top of the implant so that a crown or tooth or a bridge of teeth is going to be screwed or attached to this device. The design of those teeth is really really important. And if the crown of the tooth that’s attached to the implant is even just a tenth of a millimeter too tall. And so when you chew you’re hitting it first, or maybe you’re not even hitting it normally but when your jaw goes to the side you hit, That actually very quickly will cause an implant to fail because it’s not designed to handle that type of load. Implants should have over a 99% success rate. When they’re done by someone that’s highly trained, highly experienced. That’s what we repeatedly see. We see roughly one out of every hundred fifty implants that we place develop some kind of issue that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately. The numbers that we’re seeing today is things like 82 percent success rate. As a recent large study when you looked at all the dentist that are now placing implants and their overall success rate. And so that’s nearly one out of five implants that are failing. And unfortunately that’s just due to lack of experience and not proper execution of the procedure.

Kim Caldwell: Thanks for your time today. I’m sure that our audience will be able to learn a lot from it and make some great decisions about moving for with with dental implants.

About the Author

Andrew Mueller, DMD, MD

Dr. Andrew Mueller loves being an oral and Maxillofacial surgeon. After completing both dental and then medical school, he did a general surgery residency and an oral/maxillofacial surgery residency (both at Parkland hospital in Dallas, Texas). He has performed countless general anesthetics in the operating room, learning how to safely put patients to sleep and wake them back up.

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