Can Dental Implants Move Out of Place?

newtons cradle balls to demonstrate dental implant movement

I’m wondering if dental implants ever move out of place. It may sound strange, but I think mine is moving a bit. I initially noticed it while I was eating. I had a bit of a tough piece of steak and realized my “tooth” felt funny while I was chewing. After dinner, I checked it out by putting my finger on it and, although I can’t visibly see it moving in the mirror, I feel like it is. How much should I be worried about this? Is this normal?



Dear Chaz,

The short answer is no. This isn’t a good sign and it’s not normal. Natural teeth are held in place by periodontal ligaments, which kind of stretch a bit like rubber bands. They have a little bit of give to them. If they’re pulled too much, they’ll snap, and if they move too much it’s a sign of periodontal disease, but that little bit of give found in healthy teeth is why orthodontic treatment works. It’s natural and healthy. On the flip side, dental implants are literally anchored into your jawbone. There’s no inborn flexibility. It’s literally bone connected to metal—typically titanium or a very tough titanium alloy.

Mobility in Dental Implants Could Be Caused by Several Things

A loose crown. Hopefully, what you’re experiencing is just a loose crown. The tooth portion that sits on top of the implant is a separate piece. If this is the issue, this might be a really quick fix.

Bone loss or damage. Sometimes people experience bone loss when a tooth is missing or the bone can fracture. You didn’t indicate how old your implant is, but if it’s a newer one, bone loss probably is not the culprit here.

Infection. Occasionally, the area around a restoration can develop an infection. If caught early, it may be treatable with antibiotics. If it’s not, bone loss and other issues can occur.

Mechanical failure. High-quality components are expensive and sometimes doctors try to get around the cost by using inferior parts. The more expensive ones can sometimes malfunction too, but it’s incredibly rare.

Poor fusing. The crown isn’t supposed to be placed until the area is fully healed and the implant is fused to the bone. If something happened during the healing process or it wasn’t fully healed and the doctor missed it, you would experience issues too. If this was the case, you’d probably experience problems early on.

Get it Checked Out ASAP

The above are just a few examples of what could cause an issue like yours. Whatever’s happening, though, this needs to be checked out and addressed right away. Your dentist may be able to take steps to save the implant if it truly is mobile, but if there’s something like an infection brewing, time really is of the essence. Failing to address it right away can result in you losing the implant altogether. Best of luck to you.

This blog is sponsored by Elgin dental implant provider Dr. Steve Sirin.

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