If you receive a dental implant, then you may notice that the device has a small and rounded head that sticks up into the mouth. This part of the implant is called the abutment and it helps to secure the implant tooth in place once you go through several weeks of extensive healing. A tapered hole that sits on the top of the implant root will allow the abutment to screw into place. This means that the abutment is removable, but it is only removed from the mouth if your crown tooth needs to be replaced. However, the device may be at risk of twisting off during the initial healing process. If this happens, do not panic. Keep reading to find out why the device may come out and also what you should do about it.
Why Can An Abutment Twist Off?
Dental implant abutments have several different purposes. They allow a crown tooth to be secured to the implant root without being attached directly to the root itself. Since the titanium root is inserted into the jaw bone, the root device is permanent. Crowns often need to be replaced and the abutment allows for easy replacements. Also, the abutment serves as a place holder for the tooth before the crown can be secured. Most abutments will actually look like a miniature crown or tooth that sits up above the gum line. This miniature tooth is the anchor for the crown. It also prevents the gum tissues from completely closing over the implant root before the artificial tooth can be secured.
Once the implant tooth is cemented in place, the crown will adequately fill in the space where your natural tooth once sat. However, the abutment will not fill in much space. If pressure is placed on the device, it can actually shift and spin around. The abutment may then loosen from the implant and actually fall out of the mouth. In most cases, pressure is placed on the abutment if you use it to chew food. Also, gum swelling can place a great deal of stress on the attachment.
It is wise to chew on the opposite side of the mouth from the implant to minimize pressure and stress. You also should take anti-inflammatory medication and clean thoroughly around the implant device to minimize swelling.
What Should You Do If The Device Falls Off?
If your abutment falls out, it is wise to contact your dentist as soon as possible. The device will need to be inserted back into place. You do not want to do this yourself though. In most cases, the implant root will sit a millimeter or two above the edge of the jawbone and several millimeters below the gums. If the abutment falls out, then the gums can shift over the root and start to fill in the opening on the top. Gum tissues are constructed out of simple connective tissue and the body can create the tissues fairly quickly.
If the gums do heal over the implant root, then your dentist may need to cut the gums a small amount. Also, the top opening will need to be cleaned thoroughly to make sure the abutment is slipped back into a clean and clear root device.
If you need to wait for your dental appointment, then make sure to place your abutment in a small bag or container to keep it safe. Brush and floss gently around the implant and make sure to use a water flosser or a saltwater rinse to keep the implant area as free of food and debris as possible. Eat soft foods as well before you see your dentist to make sure food particles do not work their way underneath the gums.