I recently decided to have dental implants to support my dentures. I paid $1700 apiece for 6 dental implants and I am supposed to pay another $5000 for two more after these heal. Problem is 3 of these came out on the third day. My question is two-fold. One, should I be charged for the three that came out? And two, what should I expect from this dentist moving forward?
– Tom from Illinois
(See Dr. Hall’s answer below.)
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A basic requirement of dental implants is that they will stay in. So no, you shouldn’t have to pay for an implant that doesn’t stay in. But I will go further than that—you need a good explanation for why they came out. That’s a 60% failure rate. Authority Dental estimates the failure rate for dental implants is 5%. And most of those failures are from poor surgical technique. Also, failures tend to occur after a period of time—months or years rather than days.
Typical reasons for dental implant failure include:
- Development of infection, often because of poorly fitting fixtures
- Diagnostic shortcuts, resulting in the failure to properly assess whether or not there is adequate bone support for the implant
- The use of substandard implant fixtures
- Incorrect placement of the implant
- Premature loading—putting stress on the implant before it has fully fused with the bone
- And less common, medical issues on the part of the patient
A question I have, also, is if three of the five implants failed on the third day, how long will the rest of them last? You could be at risk of them coming out also. When dental implants fail, it is usually after they are placed under some stress. If three of yours fell out with no stress placed on them, I can’t imagine the odds are very favorable for the remaining two once they are used to support your overdenture.
Here’s what I would do. I would go to another dentist for a second opinion and ask why these implants fell out. I see that you are in the St. Louis metropolitan area on the Illinois side. I would find a dentist with expertise in dental implants somewhere else in the metropolitan area, at a large distance from your current dentist, to help insure that they don’t know each other. The new dentist may need to ask for copies of records, and your current dentist is ethically obligated to provide those. Look for a dentist with fellowship status in a professional dental implant organization, or a dentist who is a specialist in either oral surgery or periodontics. Ask them why these implants failed.
And then, what should you do going forward? I would find another dentist. And depending on what your second opinion tells you, I would be demanding a complete refund of everything you paid—not just the for the three that came out. You’re on pretty solid ground for getting a refund, since you have quite a bit of leverage. The state dental board I think would be interested to know if you get any difficulty from your dentist over this. This is truly a dental implant horror story.
– Dr. Hall
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.