When a Loose Dental Implant Doesn't Hurt: What Could Be the Problem?

Posted on: 3 February 2020

Isn't it exciting to feel a loose tooth, know that it's about to come out and be placed under your pillow to await compensation from the seemingly unlimited funds of the Tooth Fairy (or rather, the bank of mum and dad)? Yes, this was exciting… several decades ago. When you're an adult who has received a dental implant that begins to wiggle, it's actually more than a bit unsettling. What could be the problem? The implant doesn't hurt or seem to be infected, and yet it's still noticeably loose. What exactly might be causing this?

An Infection

There's a significant difference between an implant that has a loose tooth and an implant that has become infected. An infection is bad news, and you receive this bad news via discomfort and pain around the prosthetic tooth in question, particularly while eating. The gums around the implant site might be discoloured, and there can even be seeping pus and blood. These are clear signs of imminent implant failure, and you require urgent dental attention. A condition known as peri-implantitis might be the culprit, and it's likely that you will need antibiotics along with whatever other measures your dentist feels are necessary. But what about when there doesn't seem to be an infection and it's simply the prosthetic tooth that is loose?

The Implant Itself

It's important to remember that dental implants are the titanium bolt that has been inserted into your jaw. A connective abutment is then attached to the implant itself (which is the bolt) before the prosthetic tooth is affixed to the abutment to finish the procedure. When the prosthetic tooth is loose but there doesn't appear to be any complications with the implant in your jaw, the problem might simply be with the tooth. 

Inspecting the Crown and Abutment

It can be as simple as your dentist removing the crown and inspecting the underlying area. In a best-case scenario, your dentist will simply tighten the seal from the abutment to the crown so that it remains in place. The abutment will also be carefully examined to ensure that it has not been compromised in any way, but the crown and abutment can be adjusted without the need to remove the implant from your jaw. 

Other Factors

Your dentist will also look for possible reasons why the crown became loose. It might have been a simple procedural error, such as the crown not being tight enough in the first place. If your dentist suspects that you're affected by bruxism (excessive grinding of the teeth), this can be a reason for the crown becoming loose. You might not necessarily be aware of the issue, as many people do it in their sleep. Your dentist might suggest a type of mouthguard to be worn overnight, which prevents you from grinding your teeth, thus putting less pressure on the implant, as well as your remaining natural teeth.

A loose dental crown over an implant that is not caused by an infection is usually quite easy to fix, but it needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

To learn more about dental implants, contact a dentist.