Signs, Diagnosis, And Treatment Of A Failed Dental Implant

Dental implants have high success rates, one reason dentists prefer the tooth replacement. However, a few implants fail and require retreatment.

Failure Signs

A successful implant should look and feel like your natural teeth. You should suspect implant problems if you notice the following signs.

The Tooth Is Movable

Tooth mobility is the most obvious sign of implant failure. Your dental implant should integrate with your jawbone and be stable if successful. However, a disconnection between the implant and your natural tissues will leave the implant mobile and require further treatment. Consult your dentist if your implant moves when you eat, talk, or move the tongue around it.

The Surrounding Tissue Is Painful and Swollen

Failed implants are not always infected, but infections can cause dental implant failure. Thus, you should suspect a failing implant if the tissues around the implant show signs of infection. Such infection signs include tender gums, swollen gums, and pain around the implant.


Contact your dentist immediately if you suspect implant failure. That way, the dentist can diagnose the problem and apply relevant remedies. Below are two steps the dentist may take to diagnose the problem.

Clinical Assessment

The dentist will visually examine the tooth and surrounding tissues to determine the implant's condition. The dentist will also review your medical and dental history and behavior (for example, how you have been caring for the tooth) to evaluate failure risk.

Radiographic Evaluation

In many cases, the dentist needs to see the condition of the bone anchoring the implant to make a conclusive diagnosis. For example, the dentist may order a dental X-ray as part of the diagnosis. Significant bone loss around an implant usually means its failure.


Treatment for a failed dental implant depends on the failure cause and the condition of the tissues around the implant. Below are some treatments the dentist may prescribe.

Infection Treatment

In case of an infection, the treatment should target both the offending bacteria and infected tissues. Antibiotic treatments and dental cleaning and debridement may help.

Bone Graft

Tooth mobility is usually because of bone loss around the implant. You may need a bone graft if that is the case with your tooth. Otherwise, the next implant might fail too.

Implant Replacement

Your dentist has to remove and replace a failed implant. The replacement is usually the last treatment after the dentist has handled other issues, such as infections.

Contact a dentist near you for dental implants.