Dental Implant Moving

Dental implants are considered a permanent solution for missing teeth, designed to stay firmly in place within the jaw for decades, so if your dental implant is moving, something is amiss. In many cases, when there is noticeable mobility in a dental implant, the implant itself is fine, but the dental crown or attachment abutment has begun to loosen, which is usually an easy fix. When dental implant posts move within the bone, however, this is considered a dental emergency. If you notice mobility in your dental implant restoration and manipulate the implant with your tongue or your fingers, you could dislodge the implant completely, and, when the implant post itself is moving and not just the dental crown, you could cause excess injury to the vulnerable implant site. For these reasons, it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible if your dental implant is moving, as only a dental professional can determine whether it’s an emergency, and only a dental professional can properly address a dental implant moving before the damage grows irreversible. Dental implants move for a few different reasons, and understanding these reasons can help you prevent a dental emergency from arising in the first place.

Dental implants are made of two or three components: a dental implant post that’s surgically implanted in the jaw; an implant abutment that affixes the implant post to the prosthetic tooth or teeth; and the prosthetic tooth or teeth, which could be a dental crown, dental bridge, or even a denture. Some dental implants are designed with the implant post and the implant abutment already attached, while others use an abutment that is bonded with the implant post after surgery, shortly before the dental prosthetic is attached, to allow the gum tissue to grow around the base of the dental prosthetic and to add to the natural appearance of treatment results. These abutments often need periodic tightening, as they are moveable pieces that withstand years of the forces of eating and talking. If an abutment screw loosens, it’s usually pretty easy to fix, though sometimes abutment screws malfunction and a new crown is needed. Your dentist might also recommend that you sleep with a mouth guard, to relieve the pressure on your implants, their components, and your jawbone. Routine maintenance of your dental implants will include an assessment of these attachments and allow for adjustments as they’re needed. These routine dental visits can also help keep the implant posts happily and securely held in place by healthy bone, so make sure to see your dentist as recommended for dental checkups and professional cleanings, and see your dentist right away if your dental implant is moving despite your best efforts.

The natural teeth are supported in the oral cavity by a tissue structure called the periodontium. The periodontal ligament affixes the surfaces of the teeth to the bone and the gum tissue, and the jawbone holds the structures in place. All of these resilient, elastic tissues are designed to withstand the pressures of daily activity and should be expected to move slightly when subjected to force, but if the natural teeth move more than about a quarter of a millimeter, gum disease is often present and should be addressed by a dentist. When dental implants are placed, they’re placed directly in the bone, and there is no attachment ligament present to otherwise support them and provide elasticity. This means that dental implants shouldn’t move at all after they’re healed and fused with the jawbone. If a dental implant post is moving, this is an indication that the dental implant is compromised and likely to fail. This could happen because of a mechanical issue with the implant, a problem with the patient’s bone, an inadequate or insufficient healing process, or any other issue with the periodontium and oral cavity. Manipulating a moving dental implant with your hands or your tongue could cause or worsen bone loss, and it could cause the implant to move even more, increasing its instability and potentially damaging the jawbone, the other teeth, and the oral cavity’s soft tissues.

Some of the signs of a moving dental implant, other than mobility, include pain, discomfort, or bleeding around the area of the implant. If the failing implant is infected, there might be pus and noticeable swelling around the implant. If you’re in pain because of a moving or infected dental implant, make an appointment with your dentist, and use a cold compress on the outside of the face where the implant is located while you wait to see them for a comprehensive solution. Even if you’re not in pain, make sure you schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible. With a clinical examination and possibly some x-rays, your dentist can figure out why your implant is moving and promptly treat the situation.

If a dental implant is moving while the implant site is still healing from surgery, before the dental prosthetic has been placed, there is an issue with the healing process. This could be solved with antibiotics, when there is an infection present that is interfering with healing, but it might require more comprehensive dental treatment, or even comprehensive medical treatment. The successful healing of dental implants after surgery and before the placement of prosthetics is an integral part of the long-term durability of dental implants, and any issues with healing should be addressed promptly and thoroughly. If necessary, the affected implant might be removed so that the site can be thoroughly treated and allowed to fully heal, or to allow the patient to address medical conditions that were previously undetected but that compromise healing. If needed, bone graft surgery or other tissue regeneration treatments might be performed before implants can succeed. Once the dentist determines that implants are safe, a new implant will be inserted and implant treatment resumes.

Dental implants are popular for a lot of reasons, but one of the main reasons is that they’re a successful, long-term dental restoration option for more than 95% of implant recipients. When placed by a qualified implant dentist and when maintained properly, dental implants provide patients with decades of attractive, sturdy, functional replacement teeth. Dental implant failure is rare, and, with the recommended maintenance, implant components can be kept tight and stable, so if your dental implant is moving, think of it as an anomaly that requires expeditious professional attention. It’s likely that a loose implant can be fixed. If your dental prosthetic or any of its components fall completely out, keep whatever falls out and take it with you to the dentist. If your implant is loose but still in your mouth, avoid chewing with the area and clean it gently yet thoroughly while you’re brushing and flossing to keep the area free from infection. Try to see your dentist within 48 hours of discovering a mobile dental implant, and, while you wait to see your dentist, stick to a diet of soft foods and be very careful when chewing, avoiding the area as much as possible.

Dental Implant Team

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