I paid $1800 each for six dental implants to support my dentures. After they heal, I’m supposed to get two more implants. The third day after implant surgery, 3 of the 5 implants came out. Should I have to pay for three implants that came out? What should I expect from the dentist? – Samuel from Nevada
Successful dental implants stay in, so you shouldn’t have to pay for unsuccessful treatment. But more than that, your dentist needs to explain why three out of five implants came out. Authority Dental estimates that dental implants have a 5% failure rate that mainly results from poor surgical technique. And they fail within months or years after implant surgery—not days. But you’ve experienced a 60% failure within three days. You deserve an explanation.
Why Do Dental Implants Fail?
Dental implants can fail for a variety of reasons, but six typical culprits include:
- Diagnostic shortcuts and failure to accurately assess bone volume to support implants
- Incorrect implant placement
- Patient’s medical issues (less common)
- Poor-fitting fixtures that lead to infection
- Prematurely loading implants with dentures or crowns before they fuse with the jawbone
- Substandard implant fixtures
A few things to think about:
- The two remaining implants – If three of five implants failed on the third day, will the remaining two last?
- The two implants you’ll receive later – If you receive two more from the same dentist, they might be at risk of dislodging.
- You don’t have overdentures yet – Dental implants usually fail after placing stress on them. But if yours failed without stress on them, it’s unlikely that the remaining implants would support your overdenture.
Unfortunately, you are the victim of a dental implant horror story. But what can you do about it now?
- Ask your current dentist for copies of your dental records and diagnostic studies. He is ethically obligated to give you copies.
- Find a dentist with expertise in dental implants who is a distance away from your current dentist to ensure they don’t know one another. Look for a dentist who partners with an oral surgeon to place implants or has fellowship status in an implantology organization.
- Ask for a second opinion as to why the implants failed.
- Depending on what the second opinion dentist or oral surgeon tells you, demand a refund for everything you paid your current dentist—not just the three implants that came out. If you have any difficulty from your dentist about issuing a refund, the state dental board would be interested in knowing it.
- Don’t allow your current dentist to do any further work in your mouth. Find another trustworthy dentist to correct and complete your treatment. And be patient with the process of getting your implant overdentures done right.
Brian LeSage, DDS, of the Beverly Hills Institute of Dental Esthetics sponsors this post.