By David Hudnall, DMD
So, you’ve spent a lot of money on a dental implant, and now it’s broken. What do you do? The first thing you should do is take a deep breath. Although anything is possible, an actual broken dental implant is very rare. It’s more likely that one of the component pieces that hold your crown or denture to the implant has failed or become loose. This is not the time for remedies that employ the use of tools from your home workshop.
The second thing to do is call your dentist to schedule a time to be seen. The issue must be evaluated to determine its root cause. In this article, we will discuss some of the symptoms associated with an implant that is not performing properly, what can be done to repair the broken implant, the costs that could be involved, and other helpful tips to decrease your anxiety and get you smiling once again.
How Is the Dental Implant Broken?
Dental implants consist of the implant itself which is a titanium or ceramic post embedded within your jawbone, a dental crown, and an abutment that joins the two. Although these three parts perform as a single unit, a problem with any one of them can contribute to the implant not functioning properly. The abutment screw is the weakest link of the three parts. In fact, when it comes to a broken dental implant, the abutment screw is the most frequent culprit. Fortunately, unlike natural teeth, parts can be replaced.
One of the reasons that dental implants have become such a popular and effective treatment option is their ability to last a lifetime, provided they receive proper care and maintenance on a regular basis. But even the best cared for dental restorations can fail for a wide range of reasons. Let’s delve into some of the ways that someone might realize they have a broken dental implant.
The Dental Crown Came Off
With implants, crowns are secured to the implant either by cement or with a screw. Sometimes loose crowns are caused by problems with the screw that connects the crown to the dental implant. Replacing the screw can resolve the issue. If the cement has failed, often the crown can be reapplied provided that the crown has not been damaged. If the crown itself is cracked, chipped, or excessively worn, it will need to be replaced.
The Bite Feels Off
If the bite has changed or the implant suddenly feels high when biting down, it is possible that something has shifted. The cause can be as simple as a popcorn hull or other debris wedged between the crown and the gum tissue, a loose or broken abutment screw, grinding your teeth in your sleep, or loosening of the dental implant due to gum disease.
Clearly, there are simple solutions to the first three conditions: an appointment with the hygienist to clean around the implant and remove debris, replace loose or broken screws that secure the abutment, and wear a custom-fitted night guard to prevent damage caused by nighttime grinding.
An implant that is loose within the bone itself due to gum disease is often too far gone to correct, resulting in its removal as the only treatment option. Patients with multiple implants often wonder if their other implants are in jeopardy if one implant fails or is broken. It would be extremely rare that more than one implant is compromised at the same time.
Pain or Infection
Pain, swelling, or drainage are classic signs that the body is telling you something is wrong in a big way. If the implant has swelling around it, implant failure is imminent. The metal post may even become exposed as the irritated gums start to recede around it. This could be caused by a broken implant within the jawbone or it could be a sign of implant failure, which does occasionally occur for no apparent reason at all. The dentist will take an x-ray to determine the exact issue.
In either event, the implant must be removed to resolve the infection. After a period of healing, it may be possible for the implant surgeon to perform a bone graft to increase the amount of new bone present before placing a new implant.
How To Fix a Broken Tooth Implant
The process of how to fix a broken tooth implant can be divided into a multiple-step process with one step building upon the next. Often, more than one step can be accomplished within the same appointment if a decision can be quickly reached.
Much like a car or computer that is not functioning properly, an expert looks at a number of things that could be causing the specific symptoms. A dental professional will follow a similar process to determine why you appear to have a broken dental implant. This may include taking x-rays, manually manipulating the implant, and palpating the gum tissue for signs of swelling or soreness.
Once the issue is discovered, a plan is made to correct the problem and it is presented to you, the patient. That way you can be involved in the process. Any type of dental treatment offers both benefits and disadvantages in one form or another. Ultimately, it is your mouth and you must feel comfortable with the treatment suggested.
Once the treatment is agreed upon by the doctor and the patient, treatment is performed. Depending on the problem, it could be as simple as removing the crown and replacing a titanium screw or replacing the crown entirely. Or, less frequently, it could be a bigger commitment that requires replacing the implant.
Dental Implant Repair Average Costs
If you’ve made it to this point, you understand there are a wide variety of things that could cause an implant to appear to be broken. Depending on the problem, there is also a very wide price range to address each unique situation. Obviously, more involved treatment costs more money and takes more time.
If there is something wrong with the screw that joins the components, you are probably looking to spend $200 to $300 to take everything apart and put it back together again with a new screw. A new crown averages between $1,000 and $2,000, depending on the material it is made from. If the implant itself must be replaced, a patient can expect to spend $1,000 to $3,000 for implant placement surgery, $300 to $500 for the abutment, and $1,000 to $2,000 for a new crown. All totaled: $2,300 to $5,500 plus the cost of any necessary bone grafting. Remember, whatever you do is an investment in your better dental health.
Have a Broken Dental Implant? European Denture Center Can Help
European Denture Center is available to help. Our caring dentists and denturists understand that you are rightfully concerned when it comes to a broken implant. After all, you invested your hard-earned money to receive the best treatment available and you want to be assured that it was money well spent. Although implants do require periodic maintenance and occasionally require dental implant repair or replacement, be assured that the majority of dental implants will serve you throughout the remainder of your lifetime. To see all of European Denture’s services, visit us or call us now.