Dental implants are the sturdiest tooth replacement option available. But in rare cases they can become loose or even fall out. A loose or dislodged implant can be a serious problem, much like a loose or dislodged permanent tooth. It can cause pain, put you at risk for infection, and result in the need for a repeat dental implant placement.
If your dental implant feels loose, here’s what you need to do.
Call Your Dentist
Your first step should be to call your dentist. If it is after business hours, leave a message for someone to get back to you. A loose dental implant is usually not an emergency, but it is urgent. It can typically wait until the next business day.
When you speak with your dentist, they will ask you questions about your situation, such as:
- How loose is it?
- Is the dental implant still in place or has it come completely out?
- Is it just the crown that is loose or is the whole implant loose from under your gums?
- Are you in pain?
Once your dentist has gained the information they need, they will schedule you for an appointment as soon as possible to address the situation.
What’s The Problem and How Can it Be Fixed?
The solution depends on the problem. There are two distinctly different problems that can occur with dental implants:
- The Crown is Loose. This is the more common and less serious problem. If only the crown is loose, it most likely means that the cement that attaches the crown to the abutment has deteriorated. It could also be that the crown itself is damaged. The solution may be as simple as cementing the crown back into place, or a new crown may need to be made. If there is an internal problem with the abutment, that part may also need to be replaced and the crown reattached.
- The Implant Root is Loose. If the actual dental implant is loose, the root portion that extends below the gum line and into the jaw, this is a more serious problem. The root portion of an implant is typically made of titanium, a biocompatible metal that fuses to the jaw bone to form a solid hold. If the implant comes loose from the bone, it most likely means the implant is failing. A failing implant is not so easy to fix, but it can be done. It may require some other procedures to be done before replacing the implant, such as a bone graft.
Why Has My Dental Implant Come Loose?
There are a few possible causes for a loose implant. Not all cases are the same, and not every patient will have the same issue.
The crown may become loose due to biting down too hard on something or eating something particularly sticky that dislodged it. A dental implant should be sturdy enough to eat anything you want, unless there is already a problem. Sometimes the cement that attaches the crown to the abutment simply breaks down over time. In some cases the crown itself has cracked or become worn down, causing it to loosen.
When the root itself is loose, there are some other likely causes. Gum disease is one issue that can cause the implant to loosen, as the gum tissue that should be holding it in place starts to break down due to the infection. If the gum disease can be cleared up, often the implant will correct itself.
Sometimes the titanium root fails to fuse with the bone in the jaw. This may happen when there are other factors at play that affect bone health, such as smoking or osteoporosis. If the bone is not thick enough or strong enough to support the implant, a bone graft procedure may be done to prepare the bone for a new implant.
Having Problems With Your Implant? Emerson Dental Can Help
If your dental implant is loose, contact Emerson Dental right away. We will see you as soon as we can to assess the situation and determine the best course of action. In most cases we can save your implant without the need for a repeat procedure. But time is of the essence.