In recent years, with advancement in technology, implant dentistry has become an increasingly popular method of missing teeth replacement. They are the most durable and natural looking form of restorative dental treatment for a missing tooth.
Dental implants are surgically inserted into the jawbone to solidify the implant screw. This assists their ability emulate a natural tooth. The visible portion of an implant is known as the implant crown, which is connected to the dental implant by another component known as the abutment.
With good dental hygiene combined with regular dental check-ups, modern implants should last a lifetime. While the titanium implant screws have been proven to last decades, the ceramic porcelain crown that sits on top of the implant may need to be replaced on average 10 to 15 years. Even though being the most robust method for missing tooth treatment there are factors such as; oral hygiene habits, types of foods or drinks that we consume, and traumatic impact that can affect the longevity of a tooth implant.
Just like natural teeth, dental implants are prone to accidents or damage. These may include the implant becoming loose, cracking of the porcelain crown, or the implant post breaking.
Symptoms of a loose Dental Implant
Once an implant has been surgically inserted into the jawbone by a dentist, healing is then required for the surrounding bone to effectively grow and help bond the post into place. There are different health factors that may contribute towards the effectiveness of this process.
Dependent upon health and oral hygiene, a dental implant can become loose. Indicators of a loose implant can include:
- Painful or swollen gum around the implant tooth
- Movement of the tooth
- Bleeding around the tooth
- Pain while chewing even on soft edibles
- Implant breaking or coming out completely
If you’re experiencing any of the above conditions it’s important to notify your implant dentist as soon as possible to arrange an in-chair examination. Early diagnosis and preventative treatment will help avoid issues that could worsen or costly if neglected.
Some of these characteristics may occur if the correct process of healing (known as osseointegration) has not properly completed or has been jeopardized.
With correct dental hygiene an implant breaking or coming out is rare as long term placement allows it to fuse into the bone. However, gum issues or disease may attribute to such occurrences. In most cases the abutment component that is attached to the implant, which houses the crown is more likely to break or become loose due to being more exposed to impact and trauma.
What do I do if my dental implant has broken?
In the instance a dental implant or crown is chipped, broken or becomes loose, it is essential to obtain all of the pieces and phone your nearest implant dentist immediately.
If the abutment becomes loose or breaks away from the implant post, there might not be a need to remove or perform any surgeries on the implant separately. Only the abutment appliance along with the crown will be attended to. Although, this will be required to be determined by a dentist.
Unfortunately in the rare incident of the implant screw breaking inside of the gum, the implant is required to be surgically extracted by an experienced implant dentist and possibly replaced with a new one.
In the condition where gum health may have attributed towards an implant breaking, a bone graft procedure might be required before a new implant is inserted. The purpose of bone grafting is to help ensure that the jaw bone structure is strong and dense enough to hold an implant. Bone grafting helps stimulate bone minerals to the weakened area of your jawbone. This process can last several months for sufficient healing time.
What to do if the crown of my dental implant breaks or is damaged?
The porcelain crown is the most exposed element of a dental implant restoration. As a result, it is often the most prone to risk and damage.
Dental crowns are held on by a unique formula that helps cement and glue them onto the abutment. Unfortunately, the seal can be broken from wear and tear over time, causing them to detach or break. If a crown is loose, this is a simple reattachment process. Whereas, if a crown is fractured or broken, the crown may need to be replaced.
Implant crowns can break for several reasons, including:
- Biting down on hard foods solid foods such as nuts, ice and bones.
- Chewing foods such as caramel
- Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
- Accidental injury or trauma
- Damage to the abutment
- No routine dental check-ups
- Deterioration of the cement used for bonding
When a crown required to be replaced, a traditional or intra-oral 3d scan impression is taken of your mouth. This provides a mould that is used to fabricate a dental crown that will adequately fit in the desired space. A shade guide will also be used to help match the crown to the existing colour of your surrounding teeth.
How to avoid dental implant damage?
- Good oral hygiene practices; brushing twice a day, flossing and using anti-bacterial mouthwash
- During early phases of recovery with a dental implant, it is essential to not apply pressure to the tooth. Implants require sufficient time to correctly fuse with your jawbone and surrounding tissues.
- Avoid chewing and biting hard on solid foods such as; nuts, caramel and ice.
- Wear a nightguard if you are prone to grinding your teeth at night.
- If you’re known to grind your teeth during sleep (bruxism), it is important to wear a night guard.
- Wearing a sports mouthguard while doing impact or combat sports.
With good dental hygiene practices and check-up and cleans, dental implants should last a lifetime. If you suddenly experience issues from the early stages after surgery or several years after your dental implant surgery please contact an Amazing Smiles dental clinic close to you.