As of right now, dental implants are the safest, most effective way of replacing a tooth that has been lost. This is primarily because, unlike other restorative dentistry options, a dental implant perfectly mimics the structure of a natural tooth, with the implant serving as an artificial “root” that supports the crown above it.
While dental implants, and the crowns attached to them, are designed to be extremely durable, it is possible for the implant to become loose, or for the crown to detach from the abutment post. Below are some reasons as to why this happens, and what to do if it happens to you.
Cemented vs. Screw-Retained Crowns
The primary cause of crown displacement has to do with the way implant crowns were originally attached when they were first introduced, as compared to how they are attached now. The first dental implant models used cured dental cement to attach the abutment post to the crown. Nowadays, modern implants usually use a screw-like mechanism to lock the crown into place, preventing the likelihood of failure. Modern implants also have developed other features, like retentive grooves on the abutment, to ensure the crown stays put over multiple decades. While cemented crowns are mostly successful, the lack of these features gives them a higher tendency to fail.
Causes of Implant Crown Failure
Situations which can cause a cemented crown to come off a dental implant include:
- Steep cusp slopes on the crown, which may place impact on the crown to during function
- Chewing on hard substances such as hard candy, popcorn seeds, or ice
- Malocclusions forces (overbites/underbites/crossbites) that place pressure and impact on the crown
- Teeth clenching or grinding, which the patient may not be aware of
It is also possible that the dentist who performed your original implant treatment selected an abutment that is too short to fully hold the crown. Modern implants are also much more cylindrical, and less tapered, than prior models, the shape of your implant may be a contributing factor as well.
What to Do if Your Implant Crown Fails
The good news is, most of these contributing factors are easily fixed. Your dentist can either reattach the lost crown with dental cement; or, if you are interested and have the budget, you could choose to be “upgraded” to a newer screw-retained implant which is far less likely to fail. When your crown comes off, clean and disinfect it quickly, and call your emergency dentist immediately. The faster you pursue treatment, the less risk there is to the abutment and implant below it, which could be jostled or damaged by chewing without the crown’s protection. Good luck!
To schedule an appointment with our Hickory emergency dentist office, please contact us here.