Dental implants are among the best tooth replacement solutions that today’s dentistry is offering. The success rate is up to 100% if you choose to receive dental implant surgery from well-trained dental surgeons at a reputable clinic. However, there is still risk of postoperative side effects as well as complications. A few patients may notice that their dental implant is loose in their mouth at some point after surgery.


So what can lead to a shifting implant and what to do about it? This post from Sydney Dental will help you answer these problems. On a side note, you can always contact us about any dental trouble you are encountering since we will do anything to help you preserve your valuable smile!

dental implant

1. What are dental implants and why are they done?

Dental implants play as the replacement for damaged or lost teeth. They typically are the most suitable solution for patients in good health conditions. Dental implants have been in use for many decades and are in fact the most popular implant type for their proven efficacy and durability. 

Dental implants can be a good fix for:

  • Substantial tooth decay;
  • Dental infection;
  • Tooth damage as a result of trauma;
  • An option instead of dentures;
  • Gum diseases.

Implants are inserted into the jawbone to replace the tooth roots through a surgical procedure instead of being placed on top of a natural tooth like a dental crown. For an implant procedure, the dental care provider will attach the crown on the implant as the last step.

Dental implants are made to be a permanent tooth replacement. Nonetheless, users may want to have them replaced after a while.

2. What makes your dental implant move?

A dental implant that feels loose is a rare problem that may occur in some patients from time to time. There are several things that may cause this, including: 

  • Your top prosthesis is damaged. The restoration bound to your implants, like the crown, bridge, or denture should be secured in place. When it is damaged or improperly attached, it may feel loose.
  • Adjacent tissue is damaged. Peri-implantitis, which is a kind of infection around your surgical area, may wear out your bone near the implant, making it loose. Peri-implantitis may be a result of poor oral hygiene practice. Sudden and heavy force to the mouth may also destabilize your dental implants.
  • An implant failure. Osseointegration refers to the process where the placed dental implant gets fused into your jawbone. If it is disrupted in any way, an implant failure can occur, causing your implant to move.

3. What may be a reason for an implant failure?

In most cases, dental implants are lifelong. However, in some rare cases, users may experience an implant failure. This may result from some factors that hurt the osseointegration (the process of the implant getting fused with the jawbone) or healing time. These causes are as follows:

Poor maintenance

Proper hygiene remains a must for your dental implants just like for your natural teeth. Lacking proper care, the food particles can start to build up and result in periodontal conditions, damaging your gums and the jawbone.

A peri-implant disease happens when plaque accumulation adversely affects the implant site. Such a disease can be treated in early stages. Otherwise, the peri-implant disease may progress into peri-implantitis, a condition that causes a dental implant failure.

A lack of bone

Endosteal implants are supposed to be held securely in the jawbone. Therefore, if there is a lack of jawbone to do this, a dental implant failure is a possibility.

Typically a comprehensive examination of your jawbone is conducted prior to a dental implant surgery. Specifically, X-rays and 3D modeling are performed to evaluate the patient’s bone quality of the intended dental implant site.

If inadequate jawbone is detected after the examination, the dental provider may recommend the patient get an extra procedure ahead of the implants. These may include a bone graft or a sinus lift. 

Gradual bone loss can also weaken your dental implants. What may cause a jawbone loss are: 

  • Peri-implant problems;
  • Osteoporosis, a condition that causes the bone to be fragile and easily cracked;
  • Other medical complaints are detrimental to the bone.
  • Smoking

It’s scientifically-backed that smokers have a lower success rate for dental implants. The reason why smoking can result in an implant failure is it can obstruct the blood flow to the surgical site, adversely affecting osseointegration and healing. Smoking is also the cause of periodontal conditions.


Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding or clenching. Bruxism or trauma to the mouth may cause fractures in the implant, screw, or the artificial tooth on top. This is because the repeating clenching movements or sudden trauma can hinder the osseointegration process.

Certain diseases

Some medical conditions may contribute to an implant failure. These are:

  • Diabetes;
  • Osteoporosis;
  • A compromised immune system;
  • Bleeding disorders;
  • Cardiovascular disease like hypertension and atherosclerosis;
  • Congestive heart failure.
  • An older age

Senior citizens are at a higher risk of an implant failure for the fact that they tend to be afflicted with more underlying medical or bone diseases. Plus, healing may take longer for those in their later years.

Treatments or medications

Certain treatments or medications may impact the life of a dental implant. These are the following:

  • Immunosuppressives;
  • Blood-thinners;
  • Radiotherapy;
  • Underqualified dental provider.

It is of paramount priority that you receive your dental implant surgery at a reputable clinic staffed with well-trained, expert dental providers for your own safety and the implant success. If done by underqualified dentist, the following may cause an implant failure:

  • Ill-fitting implants;
  • Misplaced implants;
  • Tissue damage during the implant procedure;
  • Premature attachment of the restoration tooth before the dental implant is fully healed.

4. What to do if your dental implant is getting loose?

Reach out to your dental provider immediately when you find that your dental implant is loosening to determine the reason and give it a timely fix. You may be recommended to get a new restoration on top of the implants. If the cause is damaged jawbone or a failed implant, an implant removal is necessary. 

The failed implant can be taken off with the help of numbing medication. In some cases, the implant can be substituted.  If there is missing bone around the implant area, it may require a bone grafting procedure for the bone tissue to be regenerated first before the new implant can be placed. This process may make you wait a couple of months before the implant replacement. If you don’t want a replacement or are not qualified for one, there are alternatives like bridges or dentures for you to choose from.

Peri-implantitis can be treated without the need of an implant removal if there is no substantial missing bone. The treatment for that problem includes cleaning and disinfecting the implant and the nearby area and taking antibiotics.

After the implant removal, your body may need up to a few months to be fully recovered. This is to allow the grafted material to integrate into your body and infection to go away. Then the dental care will decide when it is okay for you to proceed with a new implant placement.

5. How to prevent problems like a loose dental implant?

Considering dental implants are like the real deal, proper care on a daily basis and periodic oral visits need to be done for the implants to last longer and to prevent problems. In particular, the patient should:

  • Commit to thorough oral hygiene. Try to keep your dental implants, false teeth, and gum tissue clean just like your original teeth by bruising, flossing, and rinsing on a daily basis;
  • Pay regular visits to the dentist. Have checkups with the dental provider to make sure your implants are functioning properly and healthy. Also receive in-clinic cleanings as advised by the dentist;
  • Avoid poor dental habits. Avoid chewing on hard foods, like ice or hard candy because these can cause breakage to your restoration like crows or even your original teeth. Also refrain from tobacco and products containing caffeine to prevent staining of teeth. If you have bruxism, meaning you grind or clench teeth, seek medical attention.

6. A note from Sydney Dental – your trusted provider

Hopefully after this read with Sydney Dental you have grasped a good idea of why your implants may get loose and how to prevent it. If you still have any questions or are unsure of which treatment to go with for a new unforgettably stunning smile in your particular case, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are at 499-501 Ba Hat St, Ward 8, District 10, HCMC looking forward to your visit. You may also call us at (028) 3504 9440 for a free no-obligation comprehensive consultation. Your pretty, shiny smile is 100% guaranteed at Sydney Dental!

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