Dental implants don’t fail very often. Overall, they have a 95 percent success rate, and when you have yours placed by a skilled and experienced oral surgeon, odds of success can be as high as 98 percent. That said, it does happen from time-to-time, so if you have implants or will soon, knowing what to do if you suspect a problem is important.

Loose Dental Implant? Here are 5 steps to take:

Make And Appointment With Your Restorative Dentist

This should be done as soon as possible, since early treatment is the best way to avoid more serious problems with either your dental health or your dental implants. Your dentist will examine the implant and do some medical imaging to determine whether the movement you’ve noticed in your implant-based dental restoration is a problem with the implant itself, or may be due to a loose abutment or crown.

Leave It Be

If your dentist cannot see you immediately, it is important during that waiting period to resist the temptation to investigate matters yourself by wiggling or pulling on your crown. This can make matters worse, wearing away at the bone material that holds the implant in place. Even if it is only a loose crown or abutment at first, moving it about can cause excessive stress on the implant itself, causing it to become loose too, or it may cause gum irritation and infection, which can also cause implant loosening.

Mind How You Chew

Another important thing to remember if it will be a day or two before you can have your implant issue properly examined and treated is to avoid chewing over the site. If it is in a position that makes it difficult or impossible to avoid stressing it when you chew, try to stick to a soft diet until you see your dentist.

If The Implant Itself Is Loose, See Your Oral Surgeon

Once you see your dentist, if the problem is found to be with the implant itself, you’ll likely be referred to your oral surgeon for further investigation and treatment. If you aren’t, request it for the best possible chance of saving your existing implant or replacing it successfully.

Follow Through On Treatment As Quickly As You Can

Once your problem has been identified, moving quickly to resolve it is important, so no matter how busy you are, make following through on treatment a priority. That treatment, of course, will depend upon the exact source of the problem. What is certain, no matter what the underlying problem may be, is that letting it go too long is very likely to make matters worse. If a loose crown or abutment is the problem, treatment may be a simple matter of replacing a screw, re-cementing a crown, or replacing a damaged prosthetic. If it is an implant problem, treatment may be able to save it in some cases, but in others, removal and replacement – generally after bone grafting – may be necessary.

To schedule a consultation with one of our oral surgeons, contact our office at (202) 386-7100.