There are a few different reasons why a dental implant can feel loose. The most serious cause is an infection known as peri-implantitis, which will require immediate treatment. Of course, it may not be anything as serious as that and can be a minor mechanical issue with the way in which the prosthetic tooth connects to the implant beneath it. How is a loose implant assessed and treated?
Caused by Infection
Clearly, if you need to see your dentist about a loose dental implant, they'll thoroughly examine you for peri-implantitis. This is an infection affecting the tissues surrounding the implant (both bone and gum tissue), and it can result in the loss of supporting bone structure, which has led to the implant becoming loose. In this case, decisive treatment is needed, involving a thorough cleaning of all debris attached to the implant, generally accompanied by antiseptic and antibiotic measures.
It's possible for peri-implantitis to be asymptomatic in its early stages, so you wouldn't necessarily know if this is the cause of your loose implant. However, once an infection has been ruled out as the cause of your implant, it's more likely that you're facing a mechanical issue with the implant itself—or more specifically, the dental crown (which is the prosthetic tooth attached to the titanium alloy implant). How are these mechanical issues addressed?
The Role of the Abutment
A prosthetic tooth is attached to an implant by an abutment. This is a small connective device that's fitted to the top of the implant. The abutment either allows for a connection with a screw or had dental cement applied to it, which means the prosthetic tooth was bonded into place. The best connection method depended on your personal circumstances, and you might not be aware of which connection your abutment uses. This isn't a problem, since these mechanical issues are quite simple to correct.
Tightening the Tooth
When the prosthetic tooth is held in place with a screw, it will briefly be removed. The issue is likely to have originated in the screw, so it will be taken out and replaced. The prosthetic tooth will be reattached and tightened into place, and your implant will now be perfectly secure. If the prosthetic tooth was held in place with dental cement, again, the tooth will be removed so that the bonding agent can be reapplied, before the tooth is replaced.
A loose dental implant is bad news, however, it might not be particularly serious. The important thing is to have the implant inspected without delay. Contact a local dentist or dental surgeon to learn more about dental implants.
Caring for an elderly parent tends to be tough enough without the added stress of dealing with dental implants or dentures. But, the prospect is not the end of the world—there are many things you can do to ensure that your parent's dental health is not compromised without having to spend a lot of personal time doing the care yourself. Between working with the right dentist, hiring a service provider for part time work, and giving your parent the tools he or she needs to care for his or her own dental health at home, you'll find that dental health for your loved one isn't so tough or time consuming after all. Hopefully you are able to get the support and information you need right here.