3 Potential Causes for a Dental Implant Failing Osseointegration

Posted on: 4 March 2015

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The stability of dental implants is dependent upon a process called osseointegration, which involves the body's natural bone tissue growing over the implant root. There are some situations where the tissue fails to connect with the root. In these cases, the implant can be loose or simply fall out of your mouth.

What are some of the potential causes for a dental implant failing osseointegration? 

Periodontal Infection

Oral health care remains important after a dental implant is placed. Sometimes, it's easy to neglect the implant when brushing your teeth or flossing since it isn't a natural tooth. But bacteria can still collect around the implant and that bacteria can in turn lead to periodontal disease and infection.

Advanced periodontal disease can begin damaging the gums and jawbone. Your dentist will check the bone for any damage or infection before placing the implant. But you can have another infection flare up months after the implant or can develop an inflammatory reaction to the implant itself. Either of these conditions can lead to progressive bone damage, which can in turn prevent successful osseointegration.

Bone Graft Failure

If your bone was weak prior to the implant procedure, your dentist likely had you undergo a bone graft. The graft procedure involves implanting a section of bone taken from your own mouth, a cadaver, a cow or a synthetic material. Successful grafting requires your body to respond to that graft as if its your natural bone and start growing your own bone and tissue around the graft material.

Your dentist will notice right away if the bone graft completely fails to work. But sometimes the graft partially works enough to seem as if the bone is strong enough for an implant. If the bone is even a bit too weak for the implant, it's possible that the implant will become overloaded and osseointegration will fail.

Lifestyle Choices and Medical History

There are a variety of patient lifestyle choices that can impair your body's ability to fuse to the implant. Likewise, your medical history including any major health conditions could be a factor.

Lifestyle choices that can impair integration include poor oral hygiene, smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. Health conditions that can cause complications include diabetes, cancer that's being treated with radiation or chemotherapy and any immune system conditions that could make you more susceptible to infection or bone loss.

Don't let the potential for osseointegration failure dissuade you from getting an implant put into your mouth. Dental implants are frequently performed in a dentist office and don't have a high rate of failure. But you should call your dentist if you feel anything odd about your implant during the months after the procedure. It's better to be safe than sorry.