Dental implants are, without question, the best option for the replacement of missing teeth, a dental restoration that looks, feels and functions like natural teeth, and offers significant advantages over other options in terms of oral health. They are a very predicable treatment, with success rates of more than 95 percent, and a long-lasting one, with an average dental implant having a lifespan of 25 years. As reliable as they are, a small percentage of Washington DC dental patients who have dental implants will experience implant loosening or failure. So what should you do if you feel that your dental implant is loose?

How Dental Implants Loosen

For the majority of patients who experience dental implant loosening, the problem occurs within the first few weeks after implant placement, the implant failing to bond properly with the jawbone. For a smaller number of patients, implants can loosen months or even years later in response to decay or infection in neighboring natural teeth, an infection called peri-implantitis – similar to gum disease – that can occur around implants, facial trauma, bruxism – or habitual grinding or clenching of teeth, or poorly constructed prosthetics or abutments, among other issues.

My Dental Implant Is Loose: What Your Should I Do?

If you feel motion in your dental implant as you bite, chew, speak or brush against it with your tongue, it is essential to call your Washington DC oral surgeon for an appointment. Make sure you explain your situation in detail as you make that appointment, so that your surgeon’s staff understands that it is an urgent one. Why is a loose implant urgent? Because identifying and treating the problem early may just make it possible to save the implant from failure.

Your oral surgeon will do a physical examination of your mouth, looking for signs of infection, inflammation and implant loosening or damage. Medical imaging will be done for a clear view of what is going on beneath the gum line, and you will be asked about any symptoms you may have experienced lately, such as pain around the implant, gum irritation or bleeding from the gums as you brush your teeth. Through this evaluation, your oral surgeon can determine if the movement you’ve noticed in your implant may be caused by a loose abutment or prosthetic, or if it stems from a problem with the implant itself, or with the surrounding bone or soft tissue.

If your dental implant is the problem, early treatment can, under some circumstances, save the implant, especially in cases caused by infection or gum recession. However, if your implant has become very loose or unstable due to severe infection, bone loss, facial trauma or implant damage, it will likely have to be removed. In most cases, another implant can be placed after the area has healed, typically with the help of bone grafting techniques to ensure a solid, stable foundation.

If you believe you have a loose implant, contact our office in the Washington, DC area to schedule an appointment. Call us at (202) 386-7100.