Dental Implant Emergency: Signs You Should See a Doctor Right Away

Dental implants are tiny, screw-like titanium posts surgically placed into the jawbone to restore missing teeth. They serve as tooth roots for natural teeth replacement like dental crowns, bridges, or dentures. Usually, dental implants are carefully and securely tightened during implant placement surgery. However, in some instances, a dental implant may end up being loose due to some causes.

So, is a loose dental implant an emergency? The answer depends on a couple of variables.


Causes of Loose Dental Implants

To better understand whether loose dental implants is an emergency, it is essential to know what triggers the problem, to begin with. Generally, there are two main reasons why a dental implant might become loose:

1. Mechanical Forces or Infection

These refer to any force that can affect the stability of an implant, such as chewing hard food or grinding teeth at night, and even simply a poor fit between the implant and your jawbone.

2. Infection or Peri-Implantitis

Meanwhile, infection is caused when bacteria enter the implant site and cause swelling of the surrounding tissues. This can compromise the bond between the implant and the jawbone.

In either case, it is vital to seek medical attention immediately if you discover that your dental implant has become loose. If left untreated, both mechanical forces and infection can lead to further complications, like:

  • Pain
  • Infection of surrounding teeth
  • Bone loss
  • Failure of the dental implant itself


Signs a Loose Dental Implant Is an Emergency

Like other dental emergencies, it’s important to visit a dentist right away when you notice the following indicators:

  • Pain and discomfort when biting or chewing
  • Loose or shifting teeth near the affected implant
  • Trouble speaking clearly or forming words properly
  • Swelling of the gums around the affected implant
  • Infection in the form of pus or discharge from the site of the loose dental implant


How to Handle a Dental Implant Emergency

If you think your dental implant is loose, seek treatment without delay from an experienced dental practitioner. The quicker you receive help, the better your odds of restoring the implant and preventing further complications.

Your dentist will most likely need to take X-rays or an MRI scan to identify the cause of the problem and choose a course of action. Depending on the severity of the situation, they may opt to tighten or replace the dental implant entirely. In some cases, antibiotics may be necessary if an infection appears. However, if you require additional dental care, you can inquire with your dentist about pain-free emergencies treatment.


How to Avoid Loose Dental Implants

The following are recommendations from dental clinics like Sunrise Emergency & Family Dental Care on how to avoid loose dental implants:

  • Keep up with good oral hygiene practices and see your dentist for routine examinations.
  • Use a mouthguard or splint if you grind your teeth at night.
  • Stay clear of hard and sticky types of foods that can cause mechanical forces on the implant.
  • Limit alcohol and tobacco use, as they can contribute to infection.
  • Comply with any post-operative instructions that your dentist provides.


In Conclusion

A loose dental implant is not necessarily an emergency, but it should still be attended to immediately by a certified dental expert. It only turns into an emergency if there is pain, swelling, infection, or other indicators of trouble. However, addressing the issue beforehand and following your dentist’s directions help ensure your dental implant remains stable for years. It’s also vital to execute good oral hygiene habits and see your dentist on a regular basis to minimize the risk of dental implant loosening in the first place.