How a Dentist Fixes Damage to a Dental Implant's Tooth

Posted on: 12 July 2023

Dental implants can't break, but that statement comes with a reminder: the dental implant is the titanium post surgically placed inside your jawbone. That portion of your dental restoration is inside your bone and is untouchable. The dental crown that was attached to it could theoretically sustain damage, just like a natural tooth. Does your entire implant then need to be removed?

For Life

Your implant is intended to be with you for life. The titanium post was stabilised by the generation of new bone cells, healing around the implant as though it was part of your naturally-occurring bone matter. Although a bacterial infection could theoretically consume bone tissues and destabilise the implant, the titanium post will remain whole and unbroken. If this worst-case scenario was to happen, the implant can be replaced in your jaw after you've had time to heal. The implant's titanium post is, for all intents and purposes, indestructible. Its dental crown (which is another term for the implant's prosthetic tooth) isn't. 

Dental Ceramic

Please don't be concerned about the security of your dental crown. The implant's prosthetic tooth is made of a dense dental ceramic, and cracks or chips are rare. They can happen though, so it's best to be aware of how to deal with the situation. Fortunately, not much is required. The crown can either be repaired while remaining attached to the implant, or it will be detached and a new crown will be manufactured. 

Shallow Damage

Small chips and cracks don't warrant crown replacement. They can be patched, and your dentist will use a composite resin the same colour as the rest of the crown. You won't see evidence of the repair after it has been performed. When the work has been completed, your dentist will hold a strange-looking wand over the crown which shines a blue light onto it. This is a curing light, which polymerises the resin, causing it to form an instant hard polymer—meaning your implant's crown is immediately restored.

Deeper Damage

Larger chips and deeper cracks may jeopardise the crown's ability to stay attached to the implant post. It's unlikely to be directly connected to the implant, as this physical connection is usually via an abutment or post extender. In any event, the stability of the crown can no longer be assured. It will be removed, and a replacement crown can be manufactured. In order not to leave you with an obvious gap in your teeth, your dentist can generally attach a pre-made acrylic crown to the implant. It won't have the same strength or appearance as a porcelain crown but is only intended to be a (mostly cosmetic) temporary substitute.

Shallow damage to an implant's crown can be repaired, whereas deeper damage often leads to replacement. Fortunately, all the while, your actual implant is safe and intact inside your jawbone.

Contact a local dental provider to learn more about dental implants.