Dental Implant Fell Out
Dental implants are a permanent dental restoration used to replace a single missing tooth or even a full arch on one or both arches. With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last a lifetime though the restoration on the implant may need to be replaced due to normal wear and tear. In some cases, an implant can become loose or even fall out. Here, we will review what you should do in the event that your implant becomes loose or falls out.
What can cause a dental implant to fail?
There are a few reasons an implant can fail. Some of the bigger reasons include:
- A weak immune system
- Insufficient supporting bone structure
- Stress on the implant during healing
- Biological rejection of the implant
The best way to avoid implant failure is proper preparation before implant surgery and following the post-op directions given to you after your implant has been placed.
What if my dental implant falls out?
Dental implants have a success rate of 95% to 97%. On a rare occasion, an implant can come loose and fall out. If your dental implant falls out, call your dentist for an emergency visit right away. Most dental offices reserve time in their schedule every day specifically for emergency cases so it is important to call as soon as your implant falls out. Even if it is after hours, call the office anyway to get the after hours emergency information so you can leave a message and someone will be able to get back to you as soon as possible.
Oftentimes, your implant can be re-inserted and tightened to make sure it does not fall out again. Sometimes, only the restoration will come off of the implant which is not a serious problem. If only the implant crown or other restoration comes loose, it can usually be screwed back down again. In some cases, the abutment is damaged and will need to be replaced. If you have a stock abutment, most dental offices will be able to replace the abutment if you are unable to get to your regular dentist, for instance if you are out of town when your abutment is compromised.
If the actual implant is moving below the gum line, that might indicate a loss of bone structure or periodontal disease. If periodontal disease is caught early, they can usually be treated with a deep cleaning by your dental hygienist and improved oral hygiene. Sometimes an antibiotic may be prescribed to make sure the infection is cleared up completely. If periodontal disease is able to be reversed in its early stages, the implant may be able to be re-inserted.
The only way to know if an implant can be saved is with an exam by your dentist. If any part of your implant falls out, you should contact your dentist right away. When you go to the office, they will take x-rays to help determine the reason why your implant has fallen out. When you call your doctor, describe to them exactly what fell out if you can. If just the crown fell out, then the implant itself is likely still in place. If it is clear that the implant has come out all together, it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will review the x-rays and discuss your options on how to treat the problem. If your implant cannot be re-inserted, your dentist will provide you with alternative treatments to dental implants.
Implant Care and Maintenance
Your dental implant is placed directly into your jaw bone below the gum line. A small portion of the implant protrudes through the gum tissue so that the abutment and implant restoration can be placed. A successful implant fuses to the bone structure creating a stable foundation for the restoration. As we age, we tend to lose bone mass so it is important for patients to maintain a healthy diet and overtime, possibly incorporate supplements to ensure a strong bone fusion with your implant. Treating bone mass issues and gum disease can greatly improve the patient's likelihood of keeping their implant for life.
Even though an implant is incredibly strong and durable, there are still some precautions that you may want to take to avoid putting too much pressure on your implant. Very hard foods that are difficult to chew can damage your implant. Sticky foods can become stuck to the implant and may be difficult to brush away and foods such as popcorn and nuts can become lodges between teeth and irritate your implant.
Oral hygiene in implant patients should be just as good if not better than when you had all of your natural teeth. It is important to floss at least once a day, especially around your implant, and to brush at least twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush. Regular visits to your dentist for professional cleanings will help ensure that your implant remains healthy and strongly fixed in your mouth. Implant patients that develop periodontal disease are at a higher risk for implant failure so it is important to maintain good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist. The doctor who placed your implant will also want to see you at least once a year for follow-up examinations to make sure that your implant is healthy and that your bone structure is sound.
Ensure Longevity For Your Dental Implant
Even if you do not experience any issues following your implant placement surgery, it is important to follow through with your post-op directions and to see your doctor as instructed. One of the main reasons an implant comes out is because the patient puts too much pressure on them while they are healing. This pressure prevents the bone from creating the osseointegration that is necessary to ensure proper bone-to-implant fusion.
If you are considering dental implants to restore missing teeth, speak with your dentist to determine if you are a candidate for dental implants and to understand the necessary steps to ensure the longest possible lifespan for your dental implant.