Abstract Plaque-induced lesions can produce peri-implant bone loss with ultimate implant loss. Although the peri-implant tissues seem to be more resistant than the periodontal ones to plaque and calculus, they can produce a more extensive spread of the infection to the deeper tissues around implants. The case of a 45-year-old female patient is presented in which, over a three year period, there was a progressive loss of peri-implant bone and the formation of a periapical radiolucency with an external fistula. The implant was removed and examined with the cutting-grinding system. Microscopy examination showed that most of the hydroxyapatite (HA) was still adherent to the metal. There was a detachment in the area of the HA-titanium interface. The implant surface was almost completely covered by bacteria. Bacteria were also present in the bone medullary spaces surrounding the implant. The infection of the periodontal tissues had progressed into the alveolar bone, thus producing a localized bone infection. The cause of the implant failure is probably related to a defective connection of the abutment or to overloading of the implant due to the presence of interlocks in the prosthetic restoration.