You just had your new implant placed. Your dentist gave you some post-procedural care instructions, and you went on your way.
After a couple weeks of healing, however, you notice something utterly horrifying: your implant has come out.
What do you do with this little metal piece?
Implant or Abutment: The Difference
An implant is not a solid, continuous unit from crown to root.
First, the implant itself is inserted into the bone beneath your gums. On top of that goes the abutment. This part links the implant to the false tooth, or crown, which shows when you smile.
Your dentist then places a ‘healing abutment’ which keeps your gums from growing too far over your implant. When your implant is ready for the crown, your dentist will remove that placeholder for one that supports the false tooth.
While healing, it is possible for that healing abutment to pop right off, if you’re not careful. This tends to be the result of chewing with the implant before it’s ready.
What Can You Do?
If the full dental implant comes out, you will know it. It resembles a screw with threads all over it. The abutment part is a much smaller piece that has a ledge for holding the crown. It also has little or no threading.
For a loose abutment, contact your dentist to have it put back on. This isn’t a complete disaster, though. It just complicates the crown process a little more.
If you feel your entire implant has come out, however, you need to call your dentist right away. He or she will probably have you start an antibiotic course to prevent infection and schedule an emergency visit.