Dental Implant Fell Out
Dental implants are an excellent solution for the replacement of missing teeth. They are designed as a permanent solution and intended to remain in the mouth, however, it is possible for an implant to become loose or even fall out. This article will focus on how to properly care for implants and what to do if an implant becomes loose or falls out.
The titanium implant post is surgically placed directly into the jawbone. Through the natural healing process, the implant will permanently fuse to the jawbone over time. In most cases, the implant procedure is successful and rarely results in complications. Implants are known for having an impressive success rate of over 95%.
Through the natural aging process over time, patients have a tendency to lose bone mass. Elderly patients may even lack the bone structure required to adequately support the implants in the first place. In some cases, a bone graft can be performed, however, this may also require the patient to pursue alternative options. The treatment of brittle bones or resolving gum disease can increase the chances of a successful implant procedure.
In addition to ensuring you have strong bones, there are other things patients can do to properly care for their dental implants. For example, patients should consider avoiding certain foods which can damage the implants. When biting down on extremely hard foods it can place too much pressure on the implant and cause damage. Sticky foods and sugary candy can also get stuck on the implant and be difficult to remove. Foods such as popcorn and nuts can easily get stuck between the teeth or cause irritation to the implants. Especially hard and sticky foods can cause the implant to shift or move, which should be avoided.
The implants should be cared for through the same methods used to care for the natural teeth. This includes twice daily brushing with a soft toothbrush and daily flossing. Patients should also continue regular visits to the dentist for an exam and professional cleaning. The dental exam can help in the early detection of any issues and ensure they are treated promptly.
Some of the most common causes for implant failure include the following:
- Inadequate or unhealthy bone
- Biological rejection or allergy
- Stress or damage to the implant
- Weak or compromised immune system
It is critical for patients to follow the pre and post-surgical instructions provided by the dentist to avoid implant failure.
Dental Implant Falling Out
First, patients should determine if the implant itself actually fell out or if there was damage to the crown which is attached to the implant. The implant is a screw-like device which is surgically placed into the jawbone. It is possible that the dental crown or abutment was damaged or fell out. Follow up with the dentist right away to prevent further damage to the implant and access the best method for repair.
Maintaining a healthy implant includes avoiding periodontal disease through good oral hygiene. In cases where periodontal disease is present, it should be addressed and treated right away to prevent implant damage or complete implant failure.
Steps to Take if an Implant Falls Out
A vast majority of implant procedures are successful. In some cases, however, it is possible for the implant to shift or fall out completely. In cases of the implant falling out, follow up with the dentist right away to prevent additional, long-term damage. It is quite rare for a dental implant to fall out, and typically occurs due to an underlying issue or a problem with the installation.
In many cases, the dentist can replace the implant and other times, just the crown has fallen off which is relatively easily to resolve. When the crown comes loose or falls off, it can often be screwed back into place. In some cases, it is the result of a damaged abutment. The abutment is the metal device which attaches the crown to the implant. If needed, the dentist can also replace the abutment.
When the implant begins to move, this may indicate the loss of bone structure or periodontal disease. When periodontal disease is detected early, it can typically be treated through improved oral hygiene habits and an antibiotic when necessary. When periodontal disease is identified and treated in the early stages, the implant can typically be replaced without any issues.
When a dental implant falls out, the first step should always be to call the dentist. The dentist will obtain x-rays to determine the cause and discuss how to resolve the issue. If the issue prevents the implant from being replaced, the dentist can review alternate options.
Prior to a dental implant falling out, it will usually first become loose. The following are signs to look for that may suggest there is an underlying issue with the implant:
- Bleeding and sensitivity to the touch
- Consistent pain or discomfort
- Discoloration near the implant site
- Visible bone loss
Contact the dentist immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms to avoid further damage.
When patients opt to not immediately repair a loose dental implant, it can result in dental implant failure and the implant falling out. This often requires the patient to undergo a costly replacement procedure or may require the use of non-implant solutions. In many cases, patients are not familiar with the serious and negative effects of a loose implant. In extreme cases, the patient may develop a potentially fatal medical condition. When the dental implant becomes loose or falls out, bacteria is able to enter critical areas of the body. This includes the neck, brain, and heart. This can present a serious threat of the patient experiencing sepsis. While these serious complications are rare, they are possible and loose implants should be taken seriously and treated right away.
In the event of a dental implant falling out, it is important to remain calm and avoid panicking. When any portion of the implant falls out, follow the steps outlined below:
- Save and carefully collect any pieces which fell out to share with the dentist
- Contact the dentist immediately to schedule an appointment
- Avoid chewing in the location or side of the implant, hard and sticky foods should also be avoided
- Rinse the mouth three times daily using an alcohol-free mouthwash