Often times we get a call from a frantic patient who has just informed me that they think something horrible has happened- their implant fell out. My first thought is "oh no, that does sound horrible!". I immediately ask questions to get to the bottom of if so I can help this patient as quickly and efficiently as possible. "Are you in pain?" is the first and most important question and thankfully the answer is almost always no. Next, I try to assess what was going on or what the patient was doing when this occurred. Usually, they are eating something delicious and all of a sudden they feel metal in their mouth! I know it sounds really scary, but I promise it's not.
A lot of the time when a single tooth implant is placed, a healing collar is placed on top of the implant as well. It is a small, metal structure that has a threaded end, the part that screws into the implant. We use healing collars, or healing abutments, to make sure the gum tissue doesn't grow over top of the implant. When it's time to create your permanent implant crown, the healing collar is unscrewed and a new abutment and crown are placed securely. Since this is not a permanent fixture, it can become loose and fall out.
So what happens next? Give us a call if your healing collar has come off. It's not an urgent situation that requires immediate attention, but we would like to see you at a convenient time for you to replace it.