The chances of your dental implants become loose are extremely rare. By surgically placing them into the jawbone, it ensures greater stability and acts as a solid foundation for your custom restoration that will live on top of your implant. The point of the implant is to act as a regular tooth, so if it becomes loose, there is a reason why. Read on to learn how this can happen and what you should do if you find yourself in this type of situation.
How Can a Dental Implant Become Loose?
You’ve just made a costly investment in your dental implants and are happy with your new, longer-lasting smile. Suddenly, you begin to feel one of your implants move, causing your stomach to drop. While no one wants this to happen, no treatment solution is 100% free of possible complications. If this sounds familiar, and you’re experiencing a loose dental implant, here are a few reasons why it could be happening:
- Bone Loss: Over time, if your jawbone becomes weakened or begins to deteriorate for any reason, this can cause your implant to loosen. The most common reason for bone loss would be a failed implant or osseointegration did not occur.
- Loose Dental Crown: A loose dental crown is the best scenario out of the three reasons simply because all it takes is either having the restoration screwed onto the implant tighter or replacing it completely. This is a far better outcome than having to change out the implant completely.
- Infection (Peri-Implantitis): If you are experiencing an infection, it is likely it is gum disease, also called peri-implantitis when it’s associated with dentures or dental implants. When this occurs, if it’s caught in the early stage, antibiotics and thorough cleanings can save it; however, if the infection has escalated, it will be necessary for your implant dentist to remove it, provide proper treatment, and eventually replace it.
What Should I Do if It Becomes Loose?
Before you start to panic, try to stay calm and contact your dentist as soon as possible. Explain the situation and schedule an appointment to get in to see him. Depending on the severity of the issue, he will examine the problem area and determine the best course of action to fix it. Some of the suggested methods of treatment include:
- Cleaning the Implant and Surrounding Area: When you arrive for your appointment, the dentist will need to remove the restoration, clean it as well as the surrounding area in order to pinpoint the exact problem. Whether they decide to replace it or adjust the current fixture will be based on what they find.
- Removing the Implant: If an infection is present or the bone is weakened, the only effective solution will be to remove it and start over. With an infection, it will take time to treat it before you receive a new implant, but if it’s bone loss, your dentist may suggest a bone graft or sinus lift to add bone minerals to the deteriorating area. This can take several months to heal.
Dental implant placement has an extremely high success rate (around 95% or higher), so the likeliness that a loosening implant will occur is slim, but it’s always important to be prepared. If you are concerned that you might be experiencing a similar situation with your own tooth replacement restorations, contact your dentist today.
About the Author
Dr. Jeff Lee attended dental school at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry from 1995-1999. Once he graduated, he completed a four-year residency in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. After finishing his residency, Dr. Lee went on to serve in the United States Navy. He has also earned a Master of Science degree in the area of dental implants. Dr. Lee and his team at Muskingum Valley Oral Surgery are equipped and trained to restore smiles using the most superior method of treatment – dental implants. Ensuring high-quality dental care, he will take the time to make sure your implants look natural and feel comfortable, so you can enjoy your new smile for many years. To learn how we can help you, contact us at (740) 432-8768.