There are many causes of tooth loss that lead people to get dental implants. One common cause is dental trauma. Excessive force can break a tooth, and sometimes the tooth gets broken in a way that a dental crown just can’t fix. In this case a dental implant is used to replace the broken tooth.
If this is why you lost your tooth, you might wonder if you might lose a dental implant the same way.
Dental Implants Are Strong
Nothing is indestructible, but dental implants come pretty close. Dental implants are made of a titanium alloy, which has the benefit, not just of being able to integrate with your bone, but also of being one of the strongest metals. The dental implant root is stronger than your natural tooth root, and stronger than the bone surrounding it.
You can break a dental implant, or bend it, but it requires a lot of force that’s likely to cause other injuries as well. Most often, when the implant receives trauma, the bone around it may be damaged, loosening the implant. And if the implant is damaged, it’s often because an implant dentist tried to use a narrower implant than is recommended.
The Dental Crown Is Almost as Strong
But what about the dental crown, you may ask? Surely that is fragile.
It’s true that the dental crown is not as strong as the implant root, and it’s more exposed, which means it is subject to more punishment. This does make it more likely that the dental crown will fail than the implant, but that doesn’t mean it’s very likely.
Dental crowns are stronger than ever, benefiting from advances in ceramic technology, and now they’re stronger than ever. You could break a dental crown with about the same force as it takes to break a natural tooth, and if it’s a concern, we have even stronger options available.
Abutment Screws: The Weak Link
However, there is a weak point in dental implants. The dental crown is attached to the dental implant via a narrow abutment screw. The set-up of the dental implant translates bite force directly from the crown to the root, but trauma to the mouth can put stress on the abutment screw, which can cause it to bend or break.
What to Do If You Suffer Trauma to an Implant
If you suffer trauma to your dental implant, schedule an appointment with a dentist right away. Unlike if you break a natural tooth, it’s not necessarily an emergency if your implant is the only tooth affected. Check to make sure the dental implant is still stable in your jawbone. If it’s not, let us know when you call.
Collect any pieces that may have come off the dental implant, and make sure you don’t swallow any! While you are waiting to have your implant checked out, make sure you chew on the other side of your mouth and avoid hard foods that could jeopardize a loosened implant.