Unfortunately, there’s no Dental Implant Fairy who gives you a quarter for every implant that comes out. So don’t start wiggling that loose dental implant.
Although it’s rare, getting a loose dental implant is not a fun experience, whether your implant fell out or is still intact but feels loose.
So here’s how to deal with and avoid this situation.
Main Causes Of A Loose Dental Implant
If you experience a loose dental implant, it could be for a few different reasons. You should contact your dentist right away to schedule an appointment.
Loose Dental Crown
There are many reasons that your tooth implant could become loosened. One of the causes could be from a loose dental crown, the tooth-shaped cap that goes over your natural tooth. This isn’t a serious, but it’s one that you should have your dentist look at. They may simply need to screw it in tighter or replace the crown.
Another possible reason your implant could be loose could be because of some bone loss around the area. This might be a sign of a failed implant or that the osseointegration period was not a success. Failed dental implants are very unlikely, but when they happen, it’s usually within the first year because it does not integrate successfully.
Yet another reason for a loose implant is peri-implantitis, the most common type of gum disease associated with dentures. If you notice gum disease early in its formation, often oral hygiene and antibiotics could help save the implant. However, if the disease is progressed, your dentist may have to remove the implant, treat the area, and replace the prostheses.
How To Correctly Recognize A Loose Dental Implant
It’s a good idea to know the signs and symptoms of a loose implant so you can know when to contact your dentist.
Obviously, if the implant is moving inside your mouth or if it’s fallen out, then that’s something you should talk to your dentist about. But other signs that your implant is loose include:
- Visible bone loss
- Bleeding when touched
- Discoloration around the area
This is why dental exams are so important — if you’re having trouble with anything, you can talk to your dentist about it. And then they can look at the implant to see if everything is okay.
How To Identify A Loose Dental Implant Crown
The signs and symptoms of a loose crown can be very similar to a loose implant. In either case, you should contact your dentist immediately. They will be able to determine the root of the problem.
Until then, you should treat it like a loose implant — be very gentle with the prostheses and the surrounding areas.
Possible Treatments For Loose Implants
As is the case with causes, the treatment options for a loose implant vary. Choosing a treatment depends on your situation and what your dentist suggests.
Cleaning The Area
When it comes to loose dental implants, the only effective treatment is to remove the crown, clean and inspect the area. Waiting to see what happens is not recommended.
Once the crown is removed and the site clean, then your dentist can decide if they need to fully replace the implant, which would mean another surgery – or just tightening the parts together.
However, this treatment needs to be accompanied by psychological and emotional comfort, medication, and discussion about what should be done.
Removing The Implant
Your dentist may decide that removing the implant is the best option, whether it’s because of infection, failure to osseointegrate, etc. This procedure would be similar to when you first got the implant placed. You can reference our “Tooth Implant Surgery Recovery Period” article for help.
Consequences Of An Untreated Loose Dental Implant
If you think you have a loose dental implant, contact your dentist right away. Make scheduling an appointment your top priority. The consequences of leaving it untreated can be drastic, even life-threatening.
You can develop an infection and, if untreated, it can spread throughout your mouth and jaw and into your neck and brain. It could then spread to the rest of your body.
It could lead to sepsis, which can infect your blood. This can lead to surgeries and even Ludwig’s Angina, a disease that can cause suffocation and meningitis.
And if you have a weaker immune system, you’re at a greater risk of these possibilities if you let a loose implant go untreated. At the very least, you could lose one or several teeth. But the worst-case (yet possible) scenario of an untreated loose implant can be fatal.
If Your Dental Implant Fell Out…
So you believe your dental implant has fallen out. What now?
First of all, there’s no need to panic, even though you may not be sure what to do.
Most times, it’s not the implant that’s fallen out but rather another part of the implant, like implant screw, the healing abutment, or the crown. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so calling your dentist as soon as possible is the best modus operandi.
Sometimes, however, it can be the implant that’s fallen out. Even though implants in the upper jaw are almost always successful (about 90%), sometimes an implant fails to integrate with the bone.
If you think your implant or part of your implant has fallen out, here’s what you should do until you see your dentist:
- Save the piece that fell out
- Call your dentist immediately
- Avoid chewing food with the implant
- Rinse 2-3 times a day with a non-alcoholic mouthwash
The most common cause of a part falling out is a patient not following the dentist’s instructions of following a soft-food diet.
Experiencing A Loose Dental Implant After Multiple Years
Sometimes, a dental implant can become loose after one, two, or even three years. In some cases, an implant can loosen after 10 years.
The most common reasons for implants that become loose after multiple years include:
- Not enough implants are supporting the teeth, which causes extra stress on the implant
- Clenching and grinding of the teeth (aka bruxism)
- Lack of proper oral hygiene
- Not enough gum tissue, which provides a seal around the implants
- Chronic metabolic diseases, like diabetes or a kidney or liver disease
- Radiation to the head or neck (as with patients who have received radiation for cancer)
- Lack of bone, which supports the implant
- Food getting impacted around the implant
- Bacterial infections
A lot of this info may be scary. But the one thing to take away from this article is to keep good oral hygiene — it can prevent a lot of problems related to dental implants. Brush twice a day, floss, all that good stuff.