Most of the time, dental implant removal isn't necessary, because tooth implants are meant to last for a lifetime, and very rarely lead to complications. In some cases, however, you might need to take an implant out.
This article will cover the ins and outs of removing dental implants so you know what to expect if you need this procedure. Keep reading to find out all about:
- Reasons to remove a dental implant
- Emergency dental implant removal
- Dental implant replacement
- …and more!
We hope this information helps you fully understand the implant removal procedure, why you might need it, and what steps to take afterward.
Table of contents
Can dental implants be removed?
Yes, dental implants can be removed, although it's very rare for someone to require this procedure. Implants are meant to last a lifetime — one of the biggest pros of implants — and most implants are successful.
Factors that can influence dental implant success include the position of the implant when it's placed, and the health of the patient's bone tissue. After implant removal, the implant can be replaced if there is enough healthy bone tissue left in the patient.
How to remove dental implants
There are two techniques for dental implant removal that are the most widely used. In one of the techniques, a trough bur (a type of cutting tool) is used to cut the bone tissue around the implant. The cutting tool is very precise and only cuts a small part of the bone, just 1 mm in size. This allows the implant to be loosened and removed.
Then the area is cleaned and your oral surgeon will determine whether or not you need a bone graft to replace lost tissue. This is especially important if a patient wants to get a replacement implant.
The other way to remove dental implants is by using an adapter. With an adapter, the surgeon doesn't need to cut any bone tissue. Instead, the adapter creates high levels of torque to remove the implant.
While using an adapter is a more modern and less invasive method, it's not always possible. The bone tissue that holds the implant may have established a very strong bond with the implant, so the bone will need to be removed to allow the implant to be released.
In the cases when an adapter can be used, immediate implant replacement is often possible.
Reasons for removal of dental implants
The reason for an implant needing to be removed can typically fall into three categories — early failure, late failure, or changing the position of the implant. Let's have a closer look now:
- Early implant failure: In the case of early implant failure, the implant didn't attach to the jawbone properly. This may be because of an infection, or because the implant was rejected by the patient's body. Early implant failure will typically happen within the first three months after placement.
- Late implant failure: This is an implant failure that takes place after a patient has had the implant for at least a year. It can happen because of an infection in the mouth, or because the implant didn't attach to the jawbone correctly. Another reason for late implant failure is when the implant endures too much force, causing it to become loose.
- Position change: In some cases, implants can move out of alignment, causing bite problems. This may be due to the initial placement of the implant being a bit off, or that the implant has moved over time.
- Gum problems: If your gums are thinning or receding, and your dental implant is showing through your gums, this might be a reason for removal.
In general, when it comes to early and late implant failure, periimplantitis (an infection), or bone loss are the most common reasons. If you're concerned about bone loss because you have osteoporosis, you can learn more in our guide to osteoporosis and dental implants, or our guide to dental implants with bone loss.
Dental implant removal cost
The cost to remove a dental implant ranges anywhere from $500 to $1,000. It's expensive because an oral surgeon needs to perform the procedure. Implant removal because of early implant failure is likely to cost less than removal due to late implant failure.
Emergency dental implant removal
If you experience extreme pain at the site of your dental implant, you may need emergency dental implant removal. This pain may be indicative that there is an infection, and you are experiencing early or late implant failure.
If you are experiencing extreme pain around your implanted tooth — or any tooth, for that matter — it's imperative that you see a dentist ASAP. If you are quite certain that the pain is related to your implant, call the clinic that placed your implant if possible.
Dental implant removal aftercare
To avoid dental implant removal complications, it's critical to take good care of the extraction site after removing dental implants. The care you will need to take is similar to the care after getting your implants the first time.
You should always follow the instructions given to you by your oral surgeon, but these will typically involve avoiding hot liquids, not touching the area, and not engaging in strenuous exercise in the days after your procedure.
You should notice your near-complete recovery around 5 days after the procedure. During this time, it's not out of place to experience some pain and discomfort.
Dental implant replacement
After getting a dental implant removed, you'll need to find a way to replace the tooth. The best option is to get another implant, but in some cases, it may be too late for dental implants.
In most cases, you will need a bone graft, which will require a few months of healing before you can get a new implant.
As long as there is no infection in your mouth and you have enough bone, you can get your implant replaced.
You may also want to consider dentures, although this option is less ideal than implants.
Dental implant removal is extremely rare but is needed in some cases. The three main reasons why you might need an implant removed include early implant failure, late implant failure, and the need to change the position of the implant.
Implant failure is typically due to infection or bone loss, both of which will need to be addressed, with antibiotics and cleaning, and a bone graft, respectively, before the implant can be replaced.
If your implanted tooth is causing you pain, this is a sign that something is wrong, and you should get in to see your dentist as soon as you can.
NIH: Removal of dental implants: Review of five different techniques. Consulted 14th June 2022.