Proper care helps ensure that a dental implant crown has a long life. While it is rare for the actual implant, which is the metal post, to loosen, it isn't as rare for the crown to come loose. The crown is the visible portion that is made to look like a natural tooth. Knowing how crowns are installed can help you understand what can cause them to loosen, while also giving you the information you need to know in case it does come loose.

Attachment Method

The standard method for attaching a crown is to thread an adapter onto the implant post. This is screwed tightly into place. The crown is then placed onto the top of the adapter, where it is epoxied in place. This method is used because the unsymmetrical shape of the crown makes it difficult, if not impossible, to screw in between your other teeth.

How Crowns Come Loose

There is a small amount of wiggle room on the adapter screw. Generally, this doesn't pose a problem unless an outside force pushes the crown beyond it's normal wiggle space. Biting into a hard material, such as a popcorn kernel, or suffering an injury, such as getting hit in the jaw, are examples of what can force the crown to turn. Once this happens, the adapter is too loose to simply tighten, since the crown is now out of alignment. The easiest way to avoid these types of difficulties is to avoid hard foods, wear protective gear when participating in sports, and to avoid the use of the teeth as tools.

What to Do

If your crown is wiggling, it's time to make a dentist appointment. Your dentist may be able to tighten the adapter if the crown hasn't moved out of place. If the crown has rotated, the only option may be removal and replacement. Since the crown is epoxied in place, the dentist will have to break it to get it off the adapter. Once the crown is off, they can clean and tighten – or completely replace – the adapter. In some cases, your dentist may be able to save the crown by breaking it cleanly and then rejoining it. In other cases, you may need to have a new crown made and fitted into place. Many dentists now have the ability to make a same-day crown, which means you won't have to wait for the replacement.

For more information, contact Riverdale Dental Arts or a similar location.