Dental implantsare the post that is hidden inside the jawbone and supports a dental crown. The crown attaches to the implant via an abutment and is the visible tooth that you see on a daily basis. While the dental implant is made to last a lifetime there are a number of factors that can contribute to a dental crown becoming loose or even cracked which may necessitate replacement.
The basics of dental implants
A dental implant is one of the most durable restoration options available for replacing a lost tooth.
The dental implant has three parts: The titanium post that is inserted into the jawbone, the abutment that connects the crown and the permanent dental crown that lies above the gum line.
It is very rare for the implant itself to break since it is located inside the bone, although gum diseases can create issues. The abutment is more likely to break or loosen after suffering trauma. The implant crown can also break or loosen due to trauma or neglect.
The crown is the part that endures all the external forces of chewing and foreign particles. The crowns consist of different materials, each with varying levels of strength, but all are susceptible to damage. A loose crown needs prompt treatment and if not cared for in a timely manner can lead to eventual implant failure as it can cause introduction of unforeseen stressors to the implant itself.
Many individuals are under the false assumption that once an implant and the corresponding implant crown are placed that their implant no longer requires any special attention but this is not true. Implants should typically undergo what is termed implant maintenance on at least a yearly basis. This entails the implant crown being removed properly assessed so that early problems such as another tooth pressing against the implant, inflammation within the bone surrounding the implant or early signs of the crown loosening can be addressed. There are multiple implants that are manufactured throughout the world and each one with its respective crown may have unique specifications that only an experienced periodontists or implant specialist will be able to identify and handle appropriately.
What causes an implant crown to break or become loose?
Several factors can cause the implant crown to become loose or break. Crowns can sometimes be repaired, reattached or, in some cases, they may need to be replaced. In very rare circumstances, a dentist may need to replace the entire implant.
The following factors can loosen your crown:
· Deterioration of the dental cement used for bonding
· Damage to the abutment
· Loosening of the dental implant screw
· Dental implant failure
What you should do when your implant crown is loose
If your implant crown feels loose or breaks, you need to contact your dentist immediately. Ensure before allowing your dentist to remove the implant crown that they are knowledgeable about the specific implant and how to remove it appropriately. Usually, a dentist can correct some damage, depending on the cause. In most cases, the dentist will replace the dental crown. If the abutment or implant is broken, you will need a new implant.
If the crown breaks, try to save the broken pieces. Keep the piece in a pouch and take it with you when visiting the dentist. Do not try to replace the crown yourself. It will not be a firm hold, and you may swallow the tooth once the crown falls out of place.
If the implant falls out with the rest of the crown, ensure you visit the dentist immediately. The implant site can generally be used to place a new implant but may require bone grafting material to ensure the implant is able to fuse with the jaw bone with a better long term success rate.
How to avoid problems with the dental implant
Stop biting or chewing on hard items and foods. Do not chew ice or open bottles with your teeth. Even biting your fingernails can cause harm to implant crown.
Once you finish getting your implants and crowns placed invest in a nightguard/ mouth guard. For the large investment that you are making to get an implant placed it is well worth it to use a nightguard to prevent issues like bruxism (teeth grinding) or trauma from contact sports to cause you to have complications with your implant.
Does your crown feel loose?
If there is an issue with your implant crown, do not hesitate to contact your dentist. The earlier you identify an issue, the faster the dentist can repair the implant. For help with your dental implants, please call Eldridge Dental 713-983-0099 or find us online at https://www.eldridge-dent.com/ to schedule an appointment today.