Do Dental Implants Ever Break?

A new dental implant leads to some obvious questions. Once placed in your jaw, the titanium alloy implant (which looks like a small screw) will act as a tooth root. The porcelain false tooth is then attached to the implant. This collection of titanium and porcelain will look and perform just like a natural tooth and should be indistinguishable from the real thing. But they're not quite the real thing, so it's obvious to ask—do dental implants ever break?

Direct Cause

The straightforward breakage of a dental implant simply doesn't happen without a direct cause. A serious accident involving blunt force trauma to your jaw could break the porcelain tooth and cause the titanium implant to detach from your jaw. But such an accident would be quite serious, and damage to your dental implant may not be an immediate priority under these circumstances. And please remember that an implant can't just break on its own accord.

Porcelain Teeth

The implant fixed in your jaw is generally protected by its position—totally embedded in bone. But the implant's tooth could conceivably experience problems that won't affect the implant's screw. Porcelain is strong, but not unbreakable. Chips, cracks, and minor fractures are all possible with a porcelain tooth (if unlikely). Be sure that you don't expose the tooth to disproportionate pressure. Please never use your teeth to open bottles, packaging, or similar. If a porcelain tooth is damaged, a dentist can separate it from the intact implant screw. A new porcelain tooth is then attached to the implant. Perhaps the porcelain tooth can theoretically break, but this wouldn't affect the part of the implant anchored in your jaw.

Dental Infections

The circumstances in which an implant could detach from your jaw are (fortunately) extremely limited. Aside from the previously mentioned blunt force trauma, it would take a serious dental infection to loosen a dental implant. This would involve a serious bacterial infection of your teeth and gums—a periodontal infection so significant that it has spread to your jawbone and is actively destroying bone tissue. Such an infection cannot strike without warning, and would progressively develop over time. If you keep your implant's tooth clean (by brushing it) and maintain a high standard of oral hygiene, you should be able to avoid these circumstances.

It's not totally accurate to say that a dental implant can break. Its porcelain tooth could experience damage, and an infection could destabilize the titanium portion in your jaw—but these outcomes aren't likely, and can easily be avoided with care.

To learn more about dental implants, contact a dentist in your area.