Is Your Dental Implant Moving?

Dental implants have become increasingly popular among American adults because they offer a permanent tooth replacement option for missing teeth. A big reason for the success and popularity of dental implants is their secure placement in the jawbone. Although it is rare, it is possible for dental implants to become loose from time to time. If your dental implant crown or implant post is loose, you should contact your dental provider immediately. Here is more information for you about what to do if dental implants have become loose and the potential issues if a loose implant is not fixed.

Why It Is Important That Your Implant Doesn’t Move

Yes, our natural teeth are designed to move slightly. Under the gums, natural teeth are attached to a piece of soft tissue called the periodontal ligament that enables the teeth to move. Alternatively, dental implants are attached directly to the jawbone, not to the periodontal ligament. Therefore, dental implants are designed to not move at all once they are installed and fused to the jawbone. If a dental implant is moving in the gums, it may be an early sign of implant failure, and steps should be taken to fix the implant before it falls out.

Signs of an Implant Problem

There may be other signs of an implant problem to look out for besides a loose dental implant. Some common signs of implant problems include:

  • A loose dental implant
  • Bone loss in the jawbone
  • Discomfort in the gums near the implant
  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen or infected gums
  • Discomfort during chewing and biting down
  • The dental implant fell out completely

Dental Implant Crown Came Loose

Another reason for the popularity of dental implants is their very high success rate, estimated to be over 98%. Despite this high success rate, implant problems can occur. If you think your dental implant has become loose, you should remember the implant can likely be fixed and you shouldn’t panic. The best place to start is to determine if it is the implant crown that is loose, or if it is the implant post that is loose. If the crown is loose, you should contact your dental provider and schedule an appointment. If the implant crown has already fallen out, you should hold on to the crown and save it for your dentist so that you can avoid needing to order a new crown. If the crown is loose and has not yet fallen out, be sure to be careful with eating and chewing until you are able to visit your provider.

The Dental Abutment is Loose

Sometimes the dental abutment can become loose. The abutment is the small implant component that connects the crown to the post. If the abutment has become loose, there is usually a simple solution, such as tightening the abutment in a quick visit to the dentist.

Dental Implant Post is Loose

If you believe that the implant post is loose, and not the crown or abutment, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. A loose implant post may signify the implant is failing. For a dental implant to be successful, it must be securely rooted and fused to the jawbone. A loose dental implant may not necessarily mean the implant is failing; therefore, you should do your best not to panic. Dental implants can occasionally become loose after 5-20 years of daily chewing and wear.

Your Implant is Loose But You Are Not Able To See Your Provider

If your implant feels loose and you are not able to get to your dental provider soon, you should stick to the following:

  • Eat soft foods to protect the implant from further damage.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene like daily brushing and flossing while the implant is loose.
  • You should avoid brushing aggressively chewing near the implant or on the side of the implant. When an implant is loose, it is normal for the teeth around the implant to be sensitive to hot and cold.

Is A Loose Dental Implant an Emergency?

A loose dental implant is a concern, but not an immediate emergency. If your dental implant has become loose, you should contact your dentist and schedule an appointment within the next 48 hours. While you wait for your scheduled appointment, stick to soft foods, avoid chewing on the implant side of your mouth, and be patient. Excessive chewing on a loose dental implant may cause further problems.

Implant Failure

Dental implants are known for their high success rate, but implant failure is possible. If the jawbone cannot support the implant anymore implant failure can happen. To reduce implant failure, your dentist may remove the loose implant post from the jawbone and install a bone graft to stimulate healthy bone growth. Unfortunately, an implant post cannot be saved if it is failing. If the bone graft is successful and the health of the jawbone improves, another dental implant may be installed in the future.

See a Dentist and Get Treatment

If you think your implant is loose, but you don’t have discomfort or other symptoms, it is still important that you schedule an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist may want X-rays to examine the implant placement and determine which part of the implant is loose. Possible solutions for a loose implant include:

  • Antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection
  • Tightening the crown or abutment if they are loose
  • Removing implant components for evaluation and replacing components if damaged or broken
  • The installation of a new dental implant post – which will not be scheduled immediately

If your dental implant is moving, you should schedule an appointment to see your dental provider as soon as possible. Your provider will help determine which implant component is loose and develop a plan to fix it. If your implant is failing, it does not mean you won’t be able to get implant treatment, but that you may just need some additional treatment procedures to ensure the success of the implant treatment.

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