A tooth implant is meant to remain firmly in place. In fact, it shouldn’t be moving at all. So, if you do notice any type of movement, the first thing to do is avoid pushing it with your tongue or trying to adjust it with your fingers. This could cause it to come out of place completely, which is definitely a dental emergency. Let’s take a moment to explore the topic of dental implants that move when they shouldn’t – and what you can do if this is what you are dealing with.
Why Your Tooth Implant Shouldn’t Move
Before discussing what to do if your implant can suddenly move when it’s not supposed to, let’s talk about why this shouldn’t happen. Your natural teeth do actually move a little bit. This happens because natural teeth are attached to a piece of soft tissue called the periodontal ligament. It’s a type of stretchy material that sometimes allows for very slight movement. However, any movement that’s more than about a hundredth of an inch is a sign of gum disease and should be reason enough to come in and see us.
Implants, however, are not attached to the periodontal ligament. They are secured directly to the bone. This means there should be no movement at all once an implant has been inserted and fusion to the jawbone has occurred. If there is movement, it’s a sign that the implant is failing in some way, either because of a structural problem with the implant itself or something going on with your bone tissue.
Avoid Rocking It or Trying to Pull It Out
If you rock your implant in an attempt to get it back into place, you’ll be creating extra pressure on the bone the implant is attached to. Even if you just rock or move the implant with your tongue unintentionally, you may experience a loss of bone tissue in the affected area, which could mean more movement.
Rocking your implant also makes it even more unstable. Pulling the implant out altogether should never be done on your own! You’ll do more harm than good and create entirely new dental issues. Trying to take out the implant yourself could also damage healthy teeth, the bone the implant was attached to, or your soft tissues.
Pay Attention to Signs of an Implant Problem
Another step you should take if an implant is moving is to look for other signs of a serious problem with it. An implant that’s wiggling or shifting may also be associated with:
- Bone loss around your jaw
- Discomfort around the area where the implant is loose
- Bleeding around the implant or the nearby gum tissue
- An infection around the implant
Apply Ice to Your Cheek
Until you can get to a dentist, apply ice to your cheek where the loose implant is located if it’s causing you to feel pain. Applying ice can also ease inflammation if tissues around your implant are swollen. Just don’t apply the ice directly to your skin. Instead, wrap it up in a towel or paper towel.
See a Dentist and Get Appropriate Treatment
Even if you’re not experiencing too much discomfort around your movable implant, you should definitely schedule a dental appointment. A dentist can look at your implant by carefully removing the crown. Doing so allows for a better look at the implant. You’ll also likely need to have X-rays taken so the source of the problem can be confirmed or determined. In some cases, the problem may be an issue with how your bone is healing, especially if you are noticing movement shortly after you had your implant inserted. Treatment may involve:
- Antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection
- Tightening the crown if the movement you are feeling is the crown and not the implant itself
- Removing all components to see if anything is broken or damaged
- Replacing damaged parts
- The insertion of a new dental implant*
*The area where the implant is located is cleaned up and usually allowed to heal for a few months before another implant is inserted.
As mentioned above, what you need to do if a tooth implant is moving is see a dentist as soon as possible. Our experienced team is prepared to size up the situation, perform the necessary examination and tests, and offer a solution that’s right for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.