A: Dental implants are not supposed to fall out. Here, when we place dental implants, we make sure the patient is a perfect candidate so they can stay with them for a lifetime.
Dental implants by design are durable, permanent and require no maintenance other than a normal healthy oral hygiene regimen. However, there are very rare cases where a dental implant may actually become loose and fall out.
As with any abnormal results when it comes to dental surgeries and procedures, a dental implant doesn’t just fall out for no reason. There is always an underlying external cause and/or installation error that has led to dental implant failure.
Two Main Causes Of A Loose Dental Implant
Before we delve any deeper into this rare situation, we want to be very clear—if you feel your dental implant is loose or has fallen out, it is extremely important to contact your dentist immediately to go in and have it looked at and corrected. Now that we have that important disclaimer out of the way, let’s delve into some of the main causes of a dental implant loosening or falling out.
Again, while this is as rare as dental implant failure, bone loss in the jaw even with a dental implant can be the sign of a failed implant due to the osseointegration period not being successful. This could be due to an error in the surgery, recovery process or simply just your bone not integrating for whatever biological reason.
This is why at Best Dental, we are very thorough in our evaluation of a patient for dental implants. Diseases such as diabetes that can impede healing can make dental implants a bit more complex, although not impossible. It just depends on many factors unique to each patient.
Failed dental implants are extremely rare and if it occurs it is usually within the first twelve months after the procedure because the bone and implant did not bond for whatever reason.
Peri-implantitis is a fancy medical term that simply means a form of gum disease. While it is most often associated with dentures due to bacteria and food particles that often get trapped in the dentures themselves between the gum and prosthesis— it sometimes can occur with dental implants, especially with a lack of proper oral care.
Dental implants, even though they cannot decay, still require the same care as natural teeth to avoid gum disease. Infections like peri-implantitis can spread through the gums and get into the jawbone if not caught and treated early on with a better oral hygiene regimen, some antibiotics, and a deep cleaning—saving the implant.
However, if the infection has progressed the dentist will likely have to remove the implant, treat the infected area, and then replace the implant all over again.
How To Correctly Identify A Loose Dental Implant
Before a dental implant falls out it will show signs of being loose and it’s to your advantage to know the symptoms and signs of a dental implant that is loose so that you can contact your dentist before it actually falls out. Signs that indicate that a dental implant is loose might include:
- Visible bone loss
- Bleeding when you touch it
- Noticeable discoloration around the implant site
This is why Dr. Naderi emphasizes regular dental exams, especially for dental implant patients. If something is going wrong, you increase your chance of early detection with regular examinations.
What If I Have A Loose Crown?
The crown is the visible component of the implant that resembles the top of a natural tooth. It is screwed on tightly to the abutment. In fact, a loose crown while rare also is much more common than an actual implant failure. However, if it feels loose, you need to contact your dentist immediately to determine the underlying cause and make sure it’s just a loose crown, not a failing implant.
Possible Corrective Treatments For Loose Crowns
Just as the causes of a loose crown vary, so do the treatment option based on the underlying reasons for it loosening, your personal situation, and what your dentist feels is the best course of action.
Cleaning The Area
When it comes to loose crowns, removing the crown and cleaning the area so it can be inspected is the first and only solution to see if there’s a more serious issue at hand. Waiting to see if something progresses is not wise at all and can sabotage any possible corrective action.
Once the crown is removed and the implant site is clean. Your dentist will inspect the implant itself and see if a simple tightening is all that is needed or if the implant itself needs to be removed and replaced.
Removing The Implant
If your dentist determines that removing the implant altogether is the best course of action, whether due to infection, osseointegration failure, or some other issue; the procedure would be very similar to the initial procedure in which you had the implant installed.
Consequences Of Not Treating A Loose Dental Implant
As we have mentioned profusely. If you think your dental implant is loose, contact your dentist immediately. Your top priority above all else should be to get an appointment ASAP as not treating it can be serious even mortally dangerous.
Infections from the mouth can easily travel into the neck, brain, and heart. It could also lead to sepsis which infects the blood and a whole host of other consequential life-threatening conditions.
If you already have a weakened immune system due to diseases like diabetes, you run an even greater risk of these frightening scenarios should you leave it untreated.
What To Do If Your Dental Implant HAS Fallen Out?
First, do not panic just because you may not know what to do. Most patients wouldn’t know what to do and that’s why you call your dentist.
Honestly, most times, it’s not the actual implant that has fallen out, but the abutment or the crown, but always better to err on the side of caution and get to your dentist right away to have it examined. The reason is that sometimes, even though rare—it may very well be the implant and if it is, it’s likely due to a failure to integrate with your jawbone.
If you believe you implant or even a part of the implant has indeed fallen out—follow this quick guideline immediately after discovering it:
- Save whatever fell out, the dentist will want to see it
- Call your dentist right away
- Avoid chewing on the side where the implant was
- Rinse three times a day with a mouthwash that does not contain alcohol
The most common reason an implant apart falls out is failing to follow the dentist’s orders of a recovery diet comprised of soft foods only until everything fully heals.
My Dental Implant Fell Out After Several Years
As mentioned, most dental implants if they do fall out (which is rare), it happens within the first year. However, sometimes, a dental implant may come loose after several years, but this too is also rare.
However, the most common root causes for implants that loosen and/or fall out after several years include:
- Not enough implants to support the teeth, which causes extra stress on the implant
- Patients grinding and clenching their teeth
- Failing to follow a proper oral hygiene regimen
- Insufficient gum tissue, which fails to provide a proper seal around the implant
- Diseases such as diabetes, renal disease, and liver disease
- Radiation therapy to the cranial area or neck (for cancer)
- Lack of bone density to support the implant
- Impacted food particles around the implant
- Bacterial infections of any kind
Look, there are many reasons why a dental implant might become loose or fall out after several years—the best course of action is to contact your dentist as soon as you notice.
Trouble With Existing Implants Or Seeking Dental Implants?
At Best Dental, we specialize in state-of-the-art dental implant procedure including All-on-4 teeth in a day and other specialties.
We take extreme measures to ensure that every patient who is considering dental implants has the best chance for success possible, or we won’t perform the procedure.
We value our patients too much to move forward with a procedure that we know may be risky or has a high failure possibility, due to many different factors.
Contact us today if you’re considering dental implants or are having trouble with your existing implants so we can evaluate what options are going to be best for your unique situation.