One of the more frustrating problems in dentistry is when you think your dental implant that was placed has fallen out. Although many studies have shown that dental implants have a greater than a 90% survival rate over a 10-year period, problems do occur, and implants fail and/or fall out of the mouth. Please continue to read this article to find out what dental implant parts can fall out of the mouth and what can be done to treat this problem.
What Are the Parts of a Dental Implant?
There are many parts to a dental implant. There is the implant screw that binds to your bone in a process called osseointegration. When a dental implant is placed, the implant screw binds to the bone over the period of weeks to months. The implant can be placed under the gums at the time of the surgery and a cover screw is placed over the implant. The implant can also be left exposed and have a healing cap that is placed at the time of surgery, this part sticks out of the gums while the gums heal. Once the implant surgeon determines the implant to be ready for a dental crown, a post, called an abutment, is screwed into the implant. A dental crown is then placed over the implant.
Identify What Part of The Implant Fell Out
It can be confusing as to what part of the dental implant fell out and you can call a dental office stating ‘my implant fell out’ when it was not the dental implant screw but another part. One good way to help the dental office identify the implant part is to take a picture of the piece that fell out of your mouth and either text it to the office or do a teledental consultation. Many times, a healing cap or cover screw can fall out and it is confused for a dental implant screw. Placing the cover screw or healing cap back onto the implant usually is a simple procedure. If the dental abutment or crown has fallen off, the implant dentist must first evaluate the implant part to see if there is any damage to the material. The dental implant screw that remains in the bone must also be evaluated to see if there is any damage to the screw part as well. Then an evaluation of why the part fell out will take place and adjustments can be made. Once again, placing the implant abutment or implant crown back into the mouth is usually not a difficult procedure if all implant parts are intact.
What Can be Done if the Dental Implant Screw Falls Out?
On rare occasions, the dental implant screw itself can fall out. There are a variety of reasons as to why this happens including:
- Bacterial infection
- Dental implant material fatigue/fracture
- Heavy bite force putting too much stress on the dental implant
- Loss of bone and/or gum tissue
- Dental implant that has never bound to bone properly
Depending on why the implant fell out, treatment can consist of rinsing with an antibiotic rinse, taking antibiotics, and keeping the area clean. A visit to the dentist should occur shortly after the dental implant screw has fallen out. An evaluation by the dentist should include an x-ray and a possible determination as to why the dental implant screw fell out. If the implant is being replaced, addition of bone and/or gum tissue may be needed to support a new dental implant. Other possible replacement options for a lost dental implant include a fixed tooth supported bridge or a removable denture. You should discuss with your implant dentist what the best option is for you after determining why your dental implant screw fell out.