Dental implants are about the closest thing you can get to a natural tooth.

With improvements in surgery, recovery and manufacturing processes, implants are now a viable option for many people. But some might wonder: is this a forever thing? If the implant fails, can it be removed? Is it like a denture?

The short answer is yes—an implant can be removed. But it shouldn’t need it.

Dental implant complications

Most dental implant surgeries go off without a hitch. But in some small number of people (somewhere around 5 to 10 percent) these implants may not “take”, or bind to the bone and gum.

This can be for several reasons, but usually it’s related to slower healing than is expected for the implant surgery. Osteoporosis and other bone thinning problems, smoking, poor dental hygiene and gum disease can all contribute to this problem.

In extremely rare cases there may be a deeper issue like peri-implantitis or rejection of the implant, but these are fringe cases and not common. Almost all implant complications can be resolved very simply by removing the implant, adding a bone graft if needed, allowing the jaw to heal and redoing the implant from the beginning.

Replacing an implant

If your implant is having issues and you think it might need to be removed, you should talk to your dentist as soon as possible.

Here are some of the signs to look for:

  • Difficulty chewing
  • Swelling
  • Looseness
  • Receding or inflamed gums
  • Pain and discomfort

Any of these symptoms beyond the normal level or length of time may indicate an implant that needs to be removed and redone. It’s rare, but it does happen.

Implants are attached down into the bone and gum when they’re installed, and as the bone and gum heals back around them it becomes as strong as the base of a normal tooth in most cases. But if there are complications this healing process doesn’t completely close up and can leave gaps. This needs to be addressed to make sure the tooth is as strong as it’s supposed to be and isn’t a source of infection.

Removing an implant should be an unlikely scenario but if it does happen we’ll make sure you’re taken care of. Contact us today to set up an appointment to talk about our dental implants or any of the other procedures we can take care of in our office.