Dental Implant Fell Out

Dental Implant Fell Out

If you have dental implants and a piece of an implant falls out of your mouth, call your dentist. In the majority of cases, the piece that fell out is an external component and not the implant itself. Dental implants are made of two or three parts: the dental implant post, which is the piece that is surgically implanted in the jaw; the dental crown or other restoration, which is the prosthetic tooth or row of teeth; and the abutment, which attaches the prosthetic to the implant. In some types of dental implant restorations, the abutment is part of the implant post, and in other types, the abutment is attached to the implant post after the surgical site has healed. While the implant posts themselves can fall out, this is rare, and it’s usually accompanied by other symptoms; more often than not, it is actually just the abutment that has detached or loosened, but only your dentist can tell you for sure, and only a dentist can fix it.

The dental implant post is a very small cylinder made of biocompatible material, usually titanium. The material is chosen because of its high success rates and its natural attraction to bone tissue. In a dental implant procedure, the gum tissue is pulled back to expose the bone in an area of the mouth where a natural tooth once was, and the dental implant post is surgically implanted into the bone. As the bone heals, it fuses with the implant post, in a process called osseointegration, a word that literally means “to make bone whole.” Once the bone has completely healed, which can take several months but is crucial to the long-term success of the dental implant, the top of the implant is exposed and the abutment is attached, if it was not already built onto the implant post. The gums are allowed to heal for a week or two, and then, the dental restoration is attached to the dental implant post.

Traditionally, dental implant treatment results in a one-to-one relationship where a single implant post supports a single ceramic dental crown, just like a tooth root would support a natural tooth. Thanks to innovation in materials and engineering, dentists can now, in many cases, use as few as two or four dental implants to support an entire row of natural teeth. Clearly, if a row of teeth fell out, you’d suspect something was up with the attachment itself. When a dental crown falls out, it’s less clear. Most of the time, when a dental crown that is supported by a dental implant falls out, it is because the abutment has loosened or become detached or dislodged, and not because the implant itself is damaged or loose. In almost every case, an oral surgeon can replace the abutment and reattach the crown.

If the dental implant post itself is actually loose, prompt dental attention can help heal the implant site and possibly save the implant. Dental implant failure is usually caused by a complication during healing, which could arise because of an infection in the gums caused by poor oral hygiene, unaddressed chronic conditions that compromise healing, or insufficient jawbone density. When dental implant surgeries are performed by qualified oral surgeons and comprehensive dental implant teams, issues with bone density are treated with bone graft therapies before the implant can be placed, and oral hygiene habits and chronic conditions are appropriately addressed. Dental implants can also fail when patients don’t follow aftercare instructions following dental implant treatment. When gum disease goes untreated, it can lead to implant failure, so the first step in keeping your dental implant from falling out is to make sure to brush twice daily and floss daily, just like you would with your natural teeth. Smoking increases the risk of dental implant failure by increasing the risk of gum disease, and it also compromises the healing process because of the unnatural sucking movements it relies on to introduce harmful, dehydrating chemicals into the oral cavity. Drinking alcohol also increases the risk of implant failure, and applying pressure to the temporary tooth while the implant heals can impede osseointegration.

If a dental implant is failing, it will loosen before it falls out. When loose implants are treated promptly, treatment could prevent the implant from falling out, so it’s important to see your dentist as soon as you can if you notice that any part of your implant is loose. Your dentist can take oral x-rays to determine which part of the implant is loose and why, allowing them to take steps to save the implant. Keep an eye out for the symptoms that often accompany loose implants when they’re indicating implant failure, and call your dentist right away if you notice symptoms, which include pain in the jaw, noticeable bone loss in the implant area, bleeding, and clear discoloration surrounding the implant site.

If your dental implant is loose, it could fall out, but that isn’t the only problem that could arise. When a dental implant is loose, or if it has fallen out and not been addressed by a dental professional, a potentially fatal medical condition could arise. When dental implants are loose, or when they have fallen out completely, their mobility leaves open areas that are highly susceptible to bacterial invasion. If the vast variety of bacteria that occupy the oral cavity are allowed to enter the bloodstream, they can affect the brain and heart, and they can also pose a considerable threat of sepsis. Thankfully, prompt attention from a dentist can prevent this from happening. If your dental implant does fail and the dental implant post falls out, an oral surgeon can restore the tooth. If needed, however, bone grafting surgery may precede the implant restoration so that the integrity of the bone is also restored.

If any part of your dental implant falls out, it’s not up to you to determine whether it’s an emergency or not. Call your dentist right away, but try to keep a cool head to prevent greater damage from occurring. Make sure to keep the piece that fell out of your mouth and take it with you to the dentist. Explain what happened, and make an appointment to see them as soon as possible. While you wait to see your dentist, be careful to chew on the opposite side of the mouth from where the implant fell out, to avoid further damage to the implant and implant site. Rinse your mouth with alcohol-free mouthwash or a warm salt water rinse up to three times a day to keep the implant site clean and to help reduce soreness. Effective oral hygiene, including twice-daily brushing and daily flossing accompanied by regular visits to the dentist, can help keep the gums and bones healthy and the implants intact, but be sure to follow your oral surgeon’s specific instructions for aftercare and maintenance to ensure the long life of your dental implants.