I got five dental implants in February, and one of them is loose. Should I leave it alone or remove it? How long can I wait to do something about it? I am afraid that I might swallow the implant if it comes out while I am eating. Unfortunately, a family emergency has me out of town to help my mother move, and I am afraid to see a dentist in another state if something goes wrong. Whether I see a dentist or not, I am not much help to my family if I need implant surgery while I am here. Thank you. Russ from Nashville
Thank you for your question.
Should You Remove a Loose Implant?
You should not remove a loose implant because it decreases the chances that a periodontist can save it. When you remove an implant, the tissue will grow in the surgical site. Although you are out of town, look for a periodontist (gum, teeth, and bone specialist) for advice. It is urgent.
Why Is Your Dental Implant Loose?
A dental implant can loosen during healing or months or years after recovery. What causes it?
Early dental implant loosening
- Smoking, which narrows blood vessels and delays healing
- Implants placed in the wrong location
- Lack of bone volume
- Gum disease
- Trauma to the implant
- Premature stress on the implant
Late dental implant loosening
- Gum disease
- Pressure from the position of replacement teeth
- Oral trauma
- Cheap or defective implant fixtures
What Is the Treatment for a Loose Implant?
A periodontist will use a 3-D CT scan and complete an exam to determine why your implant is loose. Depending on the cause of the issue, the periodontist may do one or more of the following:
- Remove the implant
- Place gum grafting as needed for recession
- Place bone grafting in areas of deterioration
- Secure the implant after bone or gum grafting if the implant is savable
- Recommend treatment for gum disease
- Replace the abutment (connector between the crown and implant)
Please do not wait until you return home to see an experienced periodontist. Ask family members to contact their dentists for help finding a periodontist or search online for an experienced provider. Get help right away.
Dr. David Pumphrey, an Atlanta periodontist, sponsors this post.