Before dental implants were invented, dental patients with missing teeth had very few choices. Dentures and bridges usually did the trick, but they were far from easy to use and not at all a permanent fix. With an implant, the post secures the tooth to your jaw. You might be wondering, however, how that works and whether they can become loose. Read on and find out more.

How Are Implants Put in Place?

Before a dental patient begins the implant process, their jawbone is X-rayed. The X-ray tells the dentist a lot about the stability of the patient's jawbone. This bone must be strong enough to hold the implant in place. Many people have issues with their jawbones, and they have suffered bone loss because of aging, diseases, medication, and more.

The implant process involves sinking a small titanium post directly into the jawbone. As time goes by, the jawbone grows around the post in a process known as osseointegration. That means the post becomes part of the jawbone and is not viewed as a foreign object to be rejected. It also means that bone growth is simulated further, and the jaw becomes even stronger. Contrast that with missing a tooth. Then, the jawbone weakens when there is nothing to support it.

Weak Jawbone Issues

As you might imagine, the success and stability of a dental implant depend on the strength of the jawbone. If the patient has weak bones, they can undergo a bone grafting process that adds bone back to the jawbone area. However, some patients develop issues that can weaken their jaws after the implant is put in place. For example, a patient with implants could develop cancer of the lungs and need radiation and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, some of the drugs used as well as the radiation process can weaken the bones in the jaw area. That might result in enough bone loss to weaken the hold the bone has on the implant post.

What to Do

If you notice that your implant is wiggling around, call your dentist right away. Ignoring the loose implant could cause further damage to the tooth and to the underlying tissue. It can also invite bacteria in and create an infection in the gum area. Your dentist will advise you on proceeding and sometimes the implant must be removed. After a bone graft, the implant may be placed once again.

To learn more about the stability of a dental implant and bone loss, speak to your dentist.