Dental implants provide sturdy, reliable tooth replacement — but that does not mean they are risk-free. There is always a small chance that an implant will become loose. In rare cases, a dental implant might fail altogether. Why do dental implants become loose? What steps should you take if you believe there is a problem with one of your implants? This blog post discusses those important questions.
Reasons for Loose Dental Implants
There are a few reasons why a dental implant might become loose:
- There is a problem with the restoration. The dental implant itself may be perfectly fine. The crown on top of it, however, might have suffered some damage or for some other reason is not as firmly attached to the implant as it should be.
- There is an infection. Bacteria can sneak into the tissue around an implant and lead to a condition called peri-implantitis. The infection eats away at the bone and damages the implant’s base of support. Poor oral hygiene, smoking, and health conditions that compromise the immune system all increase the risk of peri-implantitis.
- Failed osseointegration. Osseointegration is the process through which a dental implant bonds with the bone around it. This occurs in the months immediately after the implant placement surgery. If osseointegration is not successful, the implant will feel loose.
What to Do About a Loose Dental Implant
As soon as you notice that one of your implants is loose, call your dentist to schedule an appointment. Your dentist will examine the implant and look for signs of an infection. They may also take an X-ray or CBCT scan to examine the bone around the implant and the portion of it that is not visible to the naked eye.
Your treatment will depend on why the implant is loose. If the issue is just a matter of a damaged restoration, your dentist can create a new one. However, if failed osseointegration or peri-implantitis is the problem, treatment may be quite lengthy. In some cases, it becomes necessary to remove the implant, fight the infection, perform a bone graft, and then replace the implant.
Keeping Your Dental Implants Where They Belong
You have a measure of control over whether your dental implants thrive or struggle. To prevent them from becoming loose, you should:
- Follow a diligent oral hygiene routine.
- Visit your dentist for regular exams.
- Avoid smoking.
- Wear a mouthguard when you play sports.
- If you struggle with bruxism (teeth grinding), ask your dentist for a custom nightguard.
- Do your best to manage your overall health.
Loose dental implants are rare, but they are always a possibility. If you ever experience one, use the above information to handle the situation and perhaps save your prosthetic tooth from failure.
About the Author
Dr. Frank Kuzmin is a general dentist and a Diplomate of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. If you are interested in receiving dental implants, or you have concerns about the dental implants you already have, he would be pleased to help you. Contact our office at 860-489-8940 to schedule an appointment or learn more about Dr. Kuzmin’s services.