Dental implants are supposed to be anchored firmly in the bone, so if you notice that your implant seems to be loose, it may be that your implant is failing, although there are other possible causes for your loose implant.

Don’t Test Your Implants

It’s normal for your teeth to move just a little bit, even if they’re healthy. About 1/100th of an inch is considered reasonable for healthy teeth,and any more than that is considered a loose tooth. The movement is due to the periodontal ligament, which secures the tooth in place. Even though the tooth is surrounded by bone, it’s actually held in placed by this strong, stretchy material. That’s why it’s okay to move your teeth a little bit with your tongue.

But dental implants are supposed to be anchored solidly in the bone. They shouldn’t move at all. And pushing the implant can actually make them move. When you push the implant to the side, it’s pressed up against the bone. When this happens, your body removes a small amount of bone to reduce the pressure. With natural teeth, this is partly countered because the periodontal ligament releases cells that cause your body to build new bone, but with dental implants, it can just lead to the loss of bone.

What Might Make Your Implant Feel Loose

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that a loose-feeling implant is necessarily failing. Instead, the crown on the dental implant could be loose. This is often related to the abutment, a small connection piece that links the implant and the crown. Otherwise, it might be the crown itself that is damaged. The replacement of the crown or abutment is a minor procedure, and sometimes we can just tighten the crown down.

Another possible cause of a loose implant is that it hasn’t fully integrated with the jaw bone. Dental implants sometimes fail to integrate with the bone, especially if you’re a smoker. We’ll typically notice this at an early follow-up after the procedure, but if you notice an implant seems loose, never fail to mention it.

Finally, gum disease might be attacking your implant the same way it attacks natural teeth. Usually the gums are red and swollen around an implant when this happens, but not always. Sometimes we can treat the gum disease and the implant will secure itself, but other times we might have to remove the implant, allow healing, and then place a new implant.

If you have other questions about dental implants, we invite you to talk to one of our cosmetic dentists, please call (843) 706-2999 for an appointment at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry in Hilton Head.