If you have teeth that are severely decayed, a dental implant replaces them, giving you a natural, beautiful smile. Dental implants are often preferred over other types of tooth replacement, such as dentures, as they are permanent and usually more comfortable for the person wearing them.
But dental implants aren't perfect. There is a small risk of failure. Here's what you can do if your implant falls out and the steps you can take to keep your implant in good shape.
What Is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants typically consist of two parts. The implant itself is an artificial tooth root, placed in your jaw. The top part of the implant is a crown that gets attached to the implant itself.
Periodontists often recommend dental implants for patients who have severely damaged teeth, either due to decay or advanced gum disease. Depending on the patient, implants can replace a single tooth or several. People who have lost teeth after an accident or injury can also choose to replace the lost teeth with an implant.
What Causes Dental Implant Failure
Implants tend to have a high success rate. But it's still possible for an implant to fail or fall out of a person's mouth. When an implant fails, it is important to understand the source of the issue, as that will help a periodontist recommend the best course of treatment. For example, it could be that the crown fell out or cracked. Or, the artificial root, the implant itself, could be loose or damaged.
One cause of implant failure occurs when the bone doesn't fully grow around or fuse to the implant. Untreated gum disease or significant bone loss are two factors that can interfere with bone growth around the implant.
Poor oral hygiene can also lead to implant failure, as can having the implant placed by an inexperienced dentist.
Patients that smoke and have uncontrolled diabetes are also at a higher risk for implant failure, as their ability to heal is compromised.
Things that can cause damage to the crown part of the implant include accidents, such as being hit in the mouth. Grinding the teeth can also damage both the crown and implant.
What to Do if an Implant Falls Out
If you notice that your implant is loose, the best thing to do is schedule an appointment with your periodontist right away. They'll examine the implant and let you know what's going on.
Depending on the situation, they might recommend removing the implant and replacing it with a new one, or installing a different type of replacement tooth, such as a dental bridge, in your mouth. If the implant failure is due to insufficient bone, your periodontist might recommend a bone graft.
If the crown part of the implant falls out, you'll still want to see your periodontist, but the issue is less pressing. Your periodontist will usually refer you back to your general dentist in order to have a new crown placed on the implant.
How to Protect Your Dental Implant
There are many things you can do to protect your dental implant and keep it from falling out. Before you schedule an implant procedure, talk to your periodontist about the best ways to care for the implant. Brushing and flossing regularly and seeing your dentists as recommended will help to extend the implant's life and minimize the risk of failure.
Fortunately, implant failure is relatively rare, so it's easy to take the steps needed to protect your teeth and smile.
Call 860-347-8457 to schedule a consultation at our Middletown office or 860-224-0433 for our New Britain office. You can also request an appointment at whichever office is the most convenient to you.