Dental implants shouldn’t move or wiggle at all. They are designed to be strong and immobile and are one of the most successful dental procedures around, with a success rate of more than 90%. So you can be confident that yours will last a lifetime. However, while it is uncommon for complications to arise, they do exist, and one of them is loose dental implants.
If your implant is feeling less stable than before, it is important to act quickly to minimize the risk of implant failure.
What Causes A Loose Dental Implant?
There are a few reasons why your dental implants may be in trouble. Some of the causes can arise soon after the implants have been placed or during the recovery period. They may be due to surgical trauma, overheating during the procedure and complicated wound healing. Other causes could become apparent months or years later and can include:
A Loose Abutment
This is the small piece of metal that connects the crown to the implant screw. It may have started to unthread from the implant due to poor design or trauma. The problem requires a simple fix, such as removing and replacing the abutment, which shouldn’t affect the actual implant or crown.
Implants, like natural teeth, consist of two main parts: the crown and the root. In fact, most loose implants are actually loose crowns. The crown is held on with dental cement, but sometimes the seal can break, causing the glue to lose its grip. The simple remedy is more cement.
If the crown falls out, it can be replaced. Crowns that crack and fracture as a result of teeth grinding or other injuries will also have to be replaced.
The Implant Didn’t Integrate
Occasionally, osseointegration can fail to occur – the healing process where the surrounding bone grows over the implant to create a permanent bond. One reason for the failure can be a weak healing system.
Gum Disease and Bone Loss
Gum disease or peri-implantitis could be attacking the implant the same way it attacks natural teeth. Sometimes the infection can happen during surgery, or more commonly, it can occur months or years after placement. Typically, this is due to poor oral hygiene. If serious, this preventable infection can eat away at the bone that is holding the implant in place. Therefore, you may need a bone graft to enhance the density of your jawbone.
Recognizing The Symptoms of Loose Dental Implants
If you suspect loose dental implants be on the lookout for the following signs:
- The sensation of the implant moving
- An inability to bite down or chew
- Pain around the site of the implant
- Unusual gum recession
- Noticeable swelling
- Discoloration of the affected area
- Visible bone loss
While these symptoms are not exclusive to loose dental implants, they are reason enough to contact your dentist.
What To Do If Your Implant Is Loose
A loose implant should be looked at immediately. The problem will not go away, so waiting for it to resolve itself is not an option. Untreated loose dental implants can damage nearby teeth and cause gum irritation. This may eventually lead to jawbone damage.
Contact your dentist, who will quickly get to the underlying cause of the problem. Early treatment can prevent your implant from failing and protect your oral health. If there is an issue with the implant root itself and it has become loose, it will have to be removed entirely. You may be immediately fitted with a new implant if there isn’t any gum disease or bone loss.
How To Prevent Loose Implants
There are a few things you can do to help avoid a dental implant becoming loose over time.
- Avoid hard and crunchy foods that can wear down crowns and aggravate the implant.
- Always practice excellent oral hygiene to prevent gum disease and infections that could threaten your implants. This includes twice-daily tooth brushing to remove plaque and flossing to remove food, plaque and bacteria from the implants.
- Have an annual check-up with your dentist and see your hygienist for cleanings at least twice a year.
- Don’t waiver from the aftercare instructions outlined by your dentist or implant specialist.
- If you have gum disease, make sure it is treated promptly.
Chesterfield Dentistry Can Help
If you’re concerned about dental implants or have any questions about the procedure, get in touch with Dr. Akinwande and her friendly dental team at Chesterfield Dentistry. We provide superior dental implant solutions that will give you a stunning new smile and let you eat, chew, smile, and talk naturally with confidence. Contact us today at (314) 786 3360 or make a booking online.