A dental implant I’ve had on my top left incisor for 15 years is beginning to feel loose. My dentist of 8 years says he needs to remove the implant because I have an infection around it. He recommends replacing the implant with a bridge. I don’t understand why I can’t take antibiotics and get another implant instead of a bridge that requires grinding down the teeth next to the incisor. Could the bridge be my only option? Should I see another dentist? – Thank you. Patrick from Oklahoma City
Thank you for your question. Dr. Brooksher would need to examine your implant and gums and take a 3-D CT scan of the bone around it to determine why the implant is loose. Afterward, he could explain your treatment options.
Can You Replace a Loose Dental Implant?
An implant dentist may replace a loose dental implant with or without bone grafting. After a 3-D CT scan, the dentist will explain whether you need a bone graft to support another implant or if you need a dental bridge or an alternative.
What Causes Infection Around a Dental Implant?
A buildup of bacteria around an implant can cause infection in the gums and bone supporting the implant. The infection causes bone deterioration, and the implant will loosen. Practicing diligent oral hygiene, getting regular dental checkups, and not smoking promote healthy gums and jawbone.
Will Antibiotics Get Rid of an Infection Around Dental Implants?
Antibiotics may eliminate the infection around an implant but will not resolve bone loss. The bone will not grow back over time, and only a grafting procedure can rebuild it.
Schedule a Second Opinion
If you lack confidence in your dentist’s recommendation for replacing your dental implant with a bridge, look for an oral surgeon or dentist with advanced training in implants. An accurate diagnosis requires a thorough oral exam and 3-D CT scan, so expect the dentist to recommend those procedures. After the second-opinion implant dentist explains your treatment options, you can decide whether you want a bridge from your current dentist or to switch to a new provider.
Dr. Steven Brooksher, a Baton Rouge dentist, sponsors this post. Dr. Brooksher is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.