Dental Implant Moving

Dental implants are continuing to grow and gain popularity as an excellent solution for the replacement of missing teeth. Dental implants are extremely durable, attractive, functional, and can last a lifetime. While implants are an exceptional tooth-replacement option, there can be challenges and it is possible for them to come lose over time.

Implants are intended to remain firmly in place and should not move. If a patient notices any movement, they should avoid pushing or touching it with their tongue or fingers. Pushing or touching a loose implant could cause it to fall out complete and result in a dental emergency.
Dental implants have an incredibly high success rate of about 98%. They also have an impressive lifespan, often lasting for decades. However, it is possible for there to be issues and complications. When a patient experiences a loose implant, they should schedule an appointment with their dentist right away.

In cases where the dental implant cap has fallen out, it is important to store the crown in a secure location as the dentist may be able to preserve it. If the crown is lost, a replacement will need to be made which can be quite expensive.

Implant Movement

As a general rule of thumb, implants should not move. If they do, this is an issue. The natural teeth actually do move slightly. This occurs because the natural teeth are connected to the periodontal ligament which is a piece of soft tissue. This stretchy material is intended to allow for very some movement. Significant movement of the natural teeth, can be an early sign of gum disease and should be addressed right away.

Unlike the natural teeth, implants are not attached to the periodontal ligament and are secured to the jaw bone. Because of this, once the implant is placed and has fused to the jaw bone, it should not move. Movement indicates there is failure. The failure could be a structural problem with the actual implant or an issue with the bone.

If you detect movement of your implant, do not panic. It can likely be resolved. There are various issues which can result in an implant coming loose. Use caution with chewing on the loose implant to avoid additional damage.

Avoid Contact

Rocking or pushing the implant in an attempt to put it back in place, puts additional pressure on the bone and should be avoided. Patients may unintentionally rock or move the implant with their tongue, however there may be a loss of bone tissue that could result in additional movement.

Pushing or rocking the implant causes additional instability. Under no circumstances should the patient pull the implant out completely. Removing the implant could cause damage to the remaining healthy teeth, the jaw bone, and the soft tissues.

Signs of an Implant Issue

Some of the signs of a serious underlying issue associated with a loose implant can include:

  • Jaw bone loss
  • Discomfort around the implant area
  • Gum bleeding around the implant
  • Infection

The implant itself is a small screw-like device that connects the crown. While it is rare, it is possible for the screw to come loose. When this occurs, the solution is a relatively quick and simple fix. In order to access the implant, the dentist will need to drill a hole in the crown. Some types of crowns are strategically designed to contain a screw hole which is covered with filling for easy access. When the screw is loose, it can typically be tightened in about 10 minutes.

For patients who are partially through their implant treatment, it is also possible that the healing cap can fall out. If this occurs, it should be replaced right away to prevent the gums from growing over the implant.

In some cases, one portion of the implant, the abutment, or a piece of the crown has broken. While dental implants are created from strong titanium, it is possible for them to break under the forces of biting. Although this is quite rare. If the crown or abutment breaks, it is a pretty simple solution. Expect for the repair to be quite costly though.

In the event the dental implant has fractured, unfortunately, it cannot be repaired and will need to be replaced.

While you are waiting to see the dentist, ice should be applied to the cheek in the area where the loose implant is located. This can help to temporarily relieve any pain you are experiencing. The ice can also aid in reducing inflammation if the area surrounding the implant is swollen. Use caution and avoid applying the ice directly to the skin. Be sure to wrap it in a towel to prevent direct contact.

The lack of pain associated with a loose dental implant should still be addressed as soon as possible by your dentist. The dentist is able to carefully removing the crown and access the implant to determine why it is loose. This allows the dentist to determine precisely what is causing the issue. X-rays will most likely be taken to confirm what the issue is and give the dentist better insight. Some patients experience issues with how the bone heals. This is especially common if the implant becomes loose shortly after it is placed. Some of the most common types of treatment for a loose implant can include:

  • Antibiotics, used to treat an infection
  • Adjusting or tightening the crown if the movement is not related to the implant
  • Checking each component determine if there is damage and replacing any damaged parts
  • Placing a new implant

In the event a new implant is needed, the area is typically cleaned and allowed to heal for a few months before the new implant is placed.
Regardless of the cause or symptoms, if you are experiencing an implant which is moving, it is critical to schedule an appointment with the dentist as soon as possible. The dentist can identify the cause of the loose implant and take necessary steps to resolve it. Ensuring the issue is promptly resolved helps to avoid long-term damage or failure of the implant.

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