Dental Implant Moving
A dental implant is a permanent dental restoration that is meant to remain firmly in place. Implants are surgically placed directly into the jaw bone so any movement could be an indication that the implant is failing in some way, either because of a structural problem with the implant itself or something going on with your bone structure.
Dental implants are used to replace one or more missing teeth. Implants can even support a full denture, in which case four to eight implants are used on each arch. A dental prosthesis is placed onto the implant(s) and either cemented or screwed into place. Implants are placed by either an Oral Surgeon or a Periodontist.
Your implant doctor will numb the area with a local anesthetic and then make a small incision in the gum tissue. They will then drill a small hole in the jaw bone before screwing the implant into the hole. The gum tissue is then stitched up around the implant, with a small portion left protruding from the gums onto which the implant restoration is affixed.
Implants take up to six months to heal and become fully integrated with the jaw bone. This process of bone and implant fusion is called osseointegration. This fusion provides the stable foundation for the implant restoration. When an implant becomes loose, there may be an underlying problem with the implant or bone structure.
How do I know if I have a loose implant?
Aside from obvious movement, there are a few symptoms that you should be on the lookout for if you suspect a loose implant:
- Painful and/or swollen gums around the implant
- Bleeding around the tooth
- Unable to bite or chew properly
Dental implants have a success rate of about 95%-97% but there is always a possibility that a problem can arise. When an implant becomes loose, it is likely a symptom of a bigger issue which may include:
- Infection at the implant site
- Bone loss
If something feels loose at your implant site, it may not necessarily be your actual implant. Dental implants are made of three parts and any of them can become loose.
Loose Healing Cap
While your implant is healing, a temporary abutment is placed over the implant to protect it from damage and infection. If the healing cap comes loose, it can fall off but is not cause for alarm! Simply get to your Dentist as soon as you can to have it replaced. If you do not have the healing cap put back on, your gum tissue will grow over your implant and have to be cut away before the implant can be restored with your dental prosthesis.
Loose Implant Crown
Sometimes, the crown on your implant can become loose and is usually a simple fix! Chances are strong that your Dentist will simply need to tighten the screw securing your implant crown onto your implant.
Feeling something loose at your implant site is not an immediate emergency but it should be tended to by your Dentist within 48 hours to avoid damaging the implant. Try not to chew on the side of your mouth where your implant is until you have it fixed. Chewing on a loose implant can cause further damage or even break one of the components.
Visiting Your Dentist
It is important that you see your Dentist as soon as you can, even if you are not experiencing much discomfort around your implant. Your Dentist will take a look at your implant by carefully removing the crown to see the implant. They will also likely take an x-ray to see the bone structure and ensure that nothing is amiss below the surface. In some cases, the problem may be an issue with how your bone is healing, especially if you are noticing movement shortly after you had your implant placed.
In the event that you cannot get to your Dentist, make sure you stick to soft foods and try your best not to chew on the implant site. Also, it is important to keep up good oral hygiene and dental care while the implant is loose to avoid developing gum disease or peri-implantitis.
If you have developed a bacterial infection that is causing your loose implant, your Dentist may provide a prescription for an antibiotic to clear the infection. Hopefully, your implant will still be viable once any infection is cleared but if it is not, you may need to have the implant removed before a new one is placed. You could also require a bone graft before the new implant is placed to make sure there is enough bone structure to support the implant.
Dental implants have a very high success rate with minimal risk of complication but an implant can still fail. An implant can fail due to poor oral hygiene, loss of bone mass, or other underlying medical conditions. Even if an implant fails, you may still be able to receive a new one after a bone graft. There is also the option of zygomatic implants which do not need a significant amount of jaw bone structure because they are actually anchored in the cheekbone.
To avoid problems with your implant, it is important for patients to maintain a good home care routine and to visit their Dentist regularly for professional cleanings and annual x-rays. X-rays can help identify problems as they develop and hopefully, they can be caught before they become more serious. Your Dentist may also advise that you have a custom night guard made to protect your implant and the rest of your teeth from bruxism, which is the unconscious clenching and grinding in your sleep.
Dental implants are a great, natural-looking way to restore missing teeth. If you need to have one or more teeth replaced, speak with your Dentist to see if you are a candidate for dental implants.