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Dentist placed my implant in shallow bone, and it failed

Posted by AllSmiles

After implant surgery, my dentist said that he placed the implant, but my bone was shallower than he expected. After three months, he now says that the implant will not heal, so he wants to remove it. My dentist offers a dental bridge instead. I spent $3200 on dental implant failure. I told my dentist that I am not interested in a bridge. Will you please give me suggestions on how to get my money back and get a new implant? Should I let my dentist remove the implant? – Thank you. Marlon from Iowa


Your dentist failed you legally and in the care he provided. Your implant will not function, so he owes you a refund. So you can promptly ask for one, and it should not take much explanation. We will offer suggestions later in this post.

Placing a Dental Implant in Shallow Bone

Diagram of three phases of a dental implant: separate compoonent, implant screw in the bone, and the crown attached
A dental implant needs enough bone volume to support a crown

A dentist can avoid placing a dental implant in the shallow bone. Before implant placement, a skilled dentist plans for it. Three-dimensional x-rays are a must to reveal your bone volume and orofacial anatomy. While using 3-D guided navigation, a dentist can precisely place your implant for maximum support and a dental crown that fits well.

It seems that your dentist failed to do adequate x-rays. And during surgery, he placed the implant knowing your bone level is shallow.

Dental Bridge vs. Implant

  • Dental implant – If you want a dental implant and you have low bone volume, a skilled dentist or oral surgeon can build your bone with grafting. After the graft heals, your dentist can place the implant. But a dentist must extract your current implant first and allow the area to heal.
  • Dental bridge – A dental bridge requires grinding down the healthy teeth on either side of the missing one. After the teeth are shaved down, the ends of a dental bridge will fit over them. And those teeth will anchor the bridge.

Getting a Refund for a Dental Implant

You can get a refund for a failed dental implant with these steps:

  • Ask your new implant dentist to help you get a refund
  • Tell your current dentist that you are willing to report the issue to the state dental board
  • If your insurance company partially paid for any of your implant services, report the issue to them
  • Hire an attorney
  • Demand that your dentist pays for the cost of your new treatment.

Although your dentist gets credit for not continuing with the process and attaching a crown to your implant, he still owes you a refund. And an apology would help, too.

It Is Time to Switch Dentists

Look for dentists with post-graduate implantology (dental implant) training. Schedule at least two consultations to discuss and compare your options.


Thomas J. Goebel, DDS of Moline, IL, sponsors this post.