Dental Implant Fell Out
Dental implants have an outstanding and reliable rate of success. On an occasion, dentists get calls from troubled patients who report that a dental implant has fallen out. Most often this is not actually what happened. While the titanium implant post can indeed fail, this seldom happens, and it is highly unlikely if an experienced dentist placed the implanted tooth.
How Could Your Dental Implant Could Fail?
Some of the most common reasons include:
- There was unusual stress on the implant during the healing process.
- You have poor supporting jawbone density and mass.
- You have a weak immune system.
- You experienced a rare biological rejection.
Careful planning with your dentist prior to surgery and then closely following instructions after the procedure are the best ways to avoid any implant failure.
The Three Major Components of a Dental Implant
A dental implant is made up of three components, so it is not usually the implant itself that fails:
- The titanium post that is implanted within the jawbone and functions as an artificial tooth root.
- The visible portion above the gums, the ceramic crown that acts as a replacement tooth.
- The extension, or abutment, which connects the crown to the titanium post.
Most of the time when patients say their dental implant has fallen out, the abutment is the piece that can become dislodged, not the entire dental implant. A dentist can simply replace the abutment and reattach the crown to resolve the problem.
Failure Can Occur with The Titanium Post
The titanium post can become loose, but for this component to fail is quite uncommon.
If failure does occur with the actual implant, the cause is quite often a complication during osseointegration, or the process when the post fuses or bonds with the jawbone. This might be from:
- Poor jawbone integrity, or inadequate density and mass, though this is usually addressed with a bone graft before the implant is placed.
- A post-surgical bacterial infection in the gums surrounding the implant.
- Chronic health conditions that compromise the osseointegration process.
Sometimes failure is the result of poor aftercare practices. Smoking, drinking alcohol and putting excessive pressure on the replacement tooth during the recovery period can hinder osseointegration, as well as poor oral hygiene.
In the event of implant failure, or if the titanium post does fall out, your dentist can restore the replacement tooth. However, bone grafting may now be a necessary addition.
Symptoms to Watch for If Your Dental Implant Is Failing
Before your dental implant falls out, it becomes loose. Signs of a loose dental implant can be traced back to different symptoms. If detected early, it can prove to be helpful in stopping the dental implant from falling out. Therefore, you should watch for the following:
- You experience pain or severe discomfort.
- You see evidence of visible bone loss.
- It will bleed when you touch it.
- There is noticeable discoloration around the implant site.
If any of these symptoms persist, contact your dentist right away so the issue can be corrected.
What should you do if your dental implant falls out?
Do your best to not overreact. Keeping calm can make the difference between getting an effective corrective treatment and dealing with an aggravated problem. When a dental implant falls out, follow these important steps:
- Call your dentist right away.
- Save what fell out, the dentist will want to see it.
- Avoid chewing on the side where the implant was.
- Rinse three times a day with a mouthwash that does not contain alcohol.
In most cases, the implant can be re-inserted. In some cases, only the dental crown came off, which is not a serious problem. If only the crown came loose, it can be screwed down again. Sometimes an abutment is damaged and can be replaced.
What happens if you do not fix a loose dental implant?
The most obvious answer is that a dental implant might fall out of place right away, resulting in the need for a costly replacement. Most patients do not know how a loose or removed dental implant can affect them. The most alarming result is the chance that one develops a potentially fatal medical condition. When dental implants are loose or have fallen out, different types of bacteria, 500 species, to be exact, can enter your neck, brain, and heart, while also pose a significant threat of sepsis. It is strongly recommended that you get a loose dental implant fixed right away.
How to Care for Your Dental Implant
Your dental crown is attached to a metal post that is placed below your gum line. In totally ideal cases, this metal post becomes anchored to your jawbone. If you have healthy bone density, you increase your chances of having a successful implant placement and keeping your implant firmly attached.
As people age, they often lose bone mass. If you are elderly, you may lack the strong bones necessary to support a dental implant. This might jeopardize the success rate. Elderly patients who have weaker bones may be instructed to take vitamin supplements or try other therapies. Treating brittle bones or addressing gum disease properly will improve a patient’s chance of having a successful dental implant restoration.
In addition to having strong bones, there are other things you can do to care for your implant. You should avoid foods that can damage your implants. Biting down on hard foods can put too much pressure on a dental implant. If you eat sticky foods, those food particles can become attached to the implant and can be hard to brush off. Foods like popcorn or nuts can get stuck between your teeth and irritate your dental implants. Hard foods and sticky foods could make your implant shift or move slightly, which is not ideal.
Care for your implant as you would a natural tooth. Brush and floss daily. Continue to schedule regular dental exams every six months. Keeping your mouth healthy will also enhance your odds of having your implants remaining healthy. For example, if you develop gum disease, your gums will weaken. Weak gums cannot adequately support dental implants or even natural teeth.
To avoid gum disease, you should continue to brush and floss daily and visit your dentist for regular check-ups. Professional tooth cleaning is essential in practicing good prevention.