I received three dental implants in late January. It seemed like everything was okay until about three weeks ago when I felt pain when chewing on the right side of my mouth. I pushed around the sides of my teeth with my tongue and found that one of the implants was loose. I can gently move and wiggle it with my tongue. Could I have received bad implants? How can I tell if an implant is failing? Thank you. Marcus T. from Memphis, TN
Thank you for your question. We understand your concerns, and they require prompt attention from an implant dentist.
How Do You Know If Your Dental Implant Is Failing?
Your dental implant may be failing if it is painful, loose, or you are experiencing infection around it. We will explain.
- Loose dental implants – Dental implants may loosen when a dentist uses cheap implant fixtures, places implants in shallow bone, or places them incorrectly. A BMC Oral Health article on dental implant survival rates and risk factors states that prematurely loading the implants with replacement teeth can cause them to loosen. Pressure on the implants from chewing and biting forces can stress implants if they have not fused with the jawbone completely.
- Persistent infection – Implants that do not fit well, are of poor quality, or are located in the wrong place will not integrate with your jawbone. Your gum tissue around the implants can get infected or inflamed, and the implants can fail. Smoking can also cause persistent infection.
- Nerve impairment – Panful implants can result if a dentist or surgeon does not carefully plan implant placement. Faulty placement can impair nerves and cause pain, numbness, and tingling. Implants can also rupture or damage sinus cavities.
You can ask your implant dentist to examine the loose implant. Or you may be more comfortable getting a second opinion on your dental implants. Find a dentist with advanced training in implant surgery or who works with a skilled implant surgeon.
Unfortunately, if your dental implant has already failed, an implant surgeon must replace it, so getting the correct assessment of your situation is essential.
Accredited Fellow of cosmetic dentistry and dental implant restoring dentist Dr. Brian LeSage of Beverly Hills, California, sponsors this post.