Dental Implant Fell Out

If a piece of your dental implant fell out, or if it seems like the whole tooth fell out, call your dentist and schedule their recommended appointment. It’s probably not an emergency, unless you’re in pain, but it’s also not something that should be ignored. The reality is that most of the time a person thinks their dental implant fell out, it’s an external part of the entire dental implant and not the dental implant post itself, but checking in with your dentist is important either way. In order for this to make sense, it’s important to understand what dental implants actually are. A dental implant is made up of two or three different parts: the implant post, which is the tiny fixture implanted in the jaw that supports an artificial tooth or row of teeth; the artificial tooth, called a dental crown, or row of teeth; and, in some cases, a third piece, which is an attachment apparatus called an abutment. For some types of dental implants, the abutment is built onto the implant post already, while in other types, the abutment is attached once the gums have healed after implant surgery. This abutment is the mechanism that holds the dental crown or other dental prosthetic in place atop the implant. When an artificial tooth, or dental crown, falls out, it’s usually the abutment that has loosened, broken, or detached, so be sure to hang on to whatever fell out and make sure to take it with you when you see the dentist.

Dental implant posts are small cylinders made of medical-grade material, usually titanium, that is highly biocompatible and osseophilic, which means that the bone that surrounds the implant is attracted to the implant and unlikely to cause any adverse reactions in the body. To place a dental implant post, an oral surgeon lifts the gum tissue away to expose the jawbone and then surgically implants the post in the bone. In a traditional dental implant treatment, in which a single dental implant post supports an individual dental crown, the structure mimics the natural tooth and tooth root, and as the bone heals around the implant, it fuses together with the implant. This process is called osseointegration, and it is a vital part of dental implant treatment. Once osseointegration has fully occurred, the implant post has become a permanent part of the jaw and can support a dental crown or other restoration for decades with the proper care. Following osseointegration, the gums are lifted away again, exposing the top of the implant post; then, the attachment abutment is affixed if it is not already part of the implant, and the dental prosthetic is attached to the implant. The gum tissue heals around the abutment, creating an even gum line that protects the base of the dental crown just like the gums protect the natural teeth.

While dental implants have historically been used in this traditional one-to-one way, with each implant supporting an individual dental crown, innovations in the field have developed implant possibilities where as few as two or four dental implant posts could be used to support an entire row of prosthetic teeth. Of course, if a whole row of teeth fell out, you’d assume that there was a problem with the attachment apparatus, but it can be more difficult to pinpoint the problem when a dental crown or piece of a one-to-one implant restoration falls out. When a dental crown falls out because the abutment has malfunctioned or loosened from wear, in most cases, a dentist can simply replace the abutment and reattach the crown. When a crown breaks, the crown will need to be replaced, but the implant post itself is probably not a part of the problem. If the dental implant post itself is actually loose, however, prompt dental attention could potentially save the implant and keep it from falling out.

Dental implant posts can loosen because of dental implant failure, which is most frequently the result of complications during healing, including infection or inadequate bone density. Qualified oral surgeons will assess bone density before placing implants and perform any necessary preliminary treatments, like bone graft surgeries, to properly prepare the jaw for effective healing and osseointegration. When patients have active gum disease as they’re planning their dental implants, this gum disease will be treated before implants are placed, and patients should demonstrate the ability and willingness to continue to stave off future gum disease with effective hygiene habits. Following aftercare instructions is integral to the success of dental implants, and failing to adhere to your oral surgeon’s recommendations for care could lead to implant failure. Your oral surgeon will provide guidelines specific to your clinical needs, but overall, it’s imperative to maintain an effective oral hygiene routine that addresses both the implants and any remaining natural teeth. Dental implants can be cleaned the same way the natural teeth are cleaned, with proper twice-daily brushing and daily flossing, and it’s especially important to see your dentist for routine checkups and cleanings when dental implants are present. Your dentist can check for any signs of gum disease and intercept them before the condition worsens, and your dental hygienist can clean your dental implants with specialized tools that remove calcified bacteria from the area at and below the gum line without damaging the lustrous surfaces of the dental crowns or interfering with the implant posts.

Smoking can interfere with the success of dental implants, as it increases the risk of gum disease and also inhibits proper healing by introducing harmful chemicals into the oral cavity and because of the repetitive deep inhalation that is part of the act of smoking. Consuming alcohol can also increase the risk of implant failure, and subjecting a healing implant to undue pressure can also cause the implant to heal improperly and eventually fail. Once implants are placed, you’ll have your abutments tightened and adjusted as needed, and it’s not unusual for them to loosen or wear over time. It is unusual, however, for an actual dental implant, post and all, to fall out – or at least this shouldn’t happen without fair advance warning. Of course, a dental implant could get knocked out because of impact or injury, and this certainly requires immediate attention. In other cases, when a dental implant falls out, it doesn’t usually happen right away; usually, the implant will loosen before it falls out. If your dental implant post is loose, see your dentist right away if you want the greatest chance of saving the implant. In some cases, treatment can heal the area and save the implant; when left unaddressed, however, a loose implant post is on its way to failing and falling out. Keep an eye out for other symptoms of impending implant failure, which could include jaw pain, visible loss of bone near the implant, discoloration, or bleeding, and call your dentist right away if any of these symptoms appear. A dental implant that is failing could certainly fall out, and it may even lead to significant medical concerns if infection is allowed to spread. If you’re pretty sure the piece that fell out is just the crown or the abutment and the crown, make sure you hold onto the fixture that’s fallen out and take it with you to the dentist. This isn’t an emergency, but only a dentist can determine what, exactly, has transpired and begin the work toward fixing it, so make sure you call your dentist either way.

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