Dr. Crapo: A number of years ago I had a lot of dentistry. I had four implants put in. Two of them held a bridge on the upper left back teeth and two held separate crowns on my upper right eyetooth and the tooth beside it and to the front. I also had a crown for my upper left eyetooth and then two years later I lost an upper left tooth between the eyetooth and the front tooth, so they put a crown on the left front tooth, attached the tooth beside it and braced it against the eyetooth. A month ago the tooth fixed to one of the implants beside the upper right front tooth, went funny – I mean it went all bucked poking into my lip. I saw a dentist – he took an x-ray and said the implant broke. He showed me the break and I said - what do I do? He said he thought the implant would have to come out but said he didn’t do that and would refer me. I saw another dentist and he said that my own upper front teeth were loose. He said it looked like I have a very strong bite and that might be a reason for the implant breaking. He also said he didn’t deal with broken implants and said he’d refer me to someone who might. I’ve already gone from dentist to dentist – one to put the implants in, another to put the teeth in and the dentist who did them in the first place is retired. I’m afraid I’ll be without teeth when the broken implant comes out. Is that right?
It is very unusual for an implant to break but when it occurs it is almost always due to extreme forces. In your case, if there is movement on your other front teeth, that implant tooth has taken repeated and excessive forces when you chew and swallow.
As far as removing the implant, in this area of the mouth it may not be advisable as a good deal of bone may be lost. It is often better to remove the broken portion and if there is no disease around the remaining implant, leave it and let the bone and gum grow over it.
If the three remaining front teeth are only slightly mobile, they can be connected with each other and to the implants, making a bridge.