Once you’re not a kid anymore, your teeth should no longer be wiggling. This includes dental implants. Although it’s rare for an implant to become loose, it’s a serious problem that can have consequences if left untreated. Let’s talk about what makes a dental implant loose, what signs to watch out for, and how your dentist can treat a loose implant.
What Makes a Dental Implant Loose?
The main reasons for a loose dental implant are:
- Loose crown. The tooth-shaped cap that goes over your implant is called a crown. Crowns are not built to last as long as your implant, so they may become loose over time. Although it’s not that serious, let your dentist know as soon as possible so they reattach or replace the crown.
- Bone loss. If you lose some bone in the area of your implant, it could cause the implant to fail. This could be a sign that your implant failed to integrate with your jawbone.
- Peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is a form of gum disease. When caught early enough, it can be treated with better oral hygiene and antibiotics, but if the condition has progressed, your dentist may need to remove the implant, treat the area, and replace the implant.
What Are the Signs of a Loose Dental Implant?
If your implant is noticeably moving around inside your mouth, then obviously you’ll need to contact your implant dentist right away. Other signs of a loose implant include:
- Visible loss of bone
- Discoloration of the area
- Bleeding when touched
If you experience any of these signs, be sure to call your dentist as soon as possible.
How Can My Dentist Treat a Loose Dental Implant?
The first thing your dentist will try is removing the crown and cleaning and inspecting the area around the implant. Afterwards, your dentist will determine whether the implant needs to be replaced. This would involve another surgical procedure similar to when you first got the implant placed. However, going through another surgery is much better than the things that can happen when you let the loose implant go untreated.
What Happens If I Ignore My Loose Dental Implant?
The consequence of an untreated loose dental implant can be serious and even fatal. You could develop an infection in your mouth, which can easily spread to other areas of your body, including your brain and your heart. If you have a disease that compromises your immune system, like HIV or diabetes, you are at an even greater risk. You could contract an infection that proves to be life-threatening.
The best way to prevent an implant from becoming loose in the first place is to practice good oral hygiene. Make sure to brush and floss your implant every single day to keep bacteria from accumulating and making your implant loose. In addition, visit your dentist at least twice a year so he or she can catch any problems early.
About the Author
Dr. Teresa Salem has been practicing dentistry in Holbrook, MA for more than 20 years. She has achieved Diplomate status in the International Dental Implant Association and has undergone advanced training in surgical implants. She has also completed the Implant Continuum and a certification for Esthetic Perio-Implantology. To learn how you can take better care of your implants, click here or call Dr. Salem at (781)-767-0979.