So I had an upper molar that cracked and my dentist said it couldn’t be saved. So she took the tooth out and put in an implant. Then she later put a crown on it. This is last summer. That’s when the real trouble started. When she screwed on the crown, it hurt so much that I could barely stand it. After the appointment I had this burning in my gums and on my tongue. I told my dentist and she said that it was thrush and prescribed this rinse. I followed the instructions, rinsing with it and then swallowing it, but it didn’t go away.
Now I spend the winters in Florida. Soon after I got down there, the crown began getting loose and finally just fell off. I found a dentist in Florida who told me that my implant was infected and would have to be removed and I would need a new one placed. I haven’t done anything yet about this, because I have a couple of questions.
First, I don’t want to have anything more to do with implants. My mouth still has this burning feeling and I’m afraid of making this worse. I’m guessing I can just get a bridge to replace the tooth. Is that right?
Second, I’m really upset, but I went to a lawyer and he didn’t want to help me – told me I didn’t have a good case. Is there a way I can make my dentist do this for free?
– Lydia from New Jersey
Boy, I don’t know where to start. There are several problems here.
One problem in bringing dental malpractice lawsuits is that the dollar amounts aren’t enough to make it worthwhile for some lawyers, so that may be the problem with the lawyer. If you can’t get a lawyer to help you, you can always threaten to make a complaint to the dental board. That can get a dentist’s attention.
Then, after the problems with your home town dentist, I wouldn’t want her to do any more work on me. I had to chuckle when she tried to blame the burning in your mouth on thrush. I guess you’ve figured out that was a misdiagnosis since the medication didn’t help any. This sounds like burning mouth syndrome. While officially there is no known cause, there is a website we’ve seen that has gathered stories from people suffering from burning mouth syndrome and in each case it began with a traumatic dental experience. You’re fitting that pattern.
So we have the misdiagnosis by your dentist. Added to that is the crown coming off. Added to that is the dental implant failure – the implant getting loose. The implant is supposed to fuse to the bone and shouldn’t ever get loose. Below is a drawing of an implant. Over a period of about three months, a process called osseointegration fuses the bone to the titanium implant. It sounds like this didn’t happen in your case, which is what led to the failure.
From the story you told, it sounds like it could be possible that the dentist put too much stress on the implant when she was installing your crown. That could break the bond that had just barely formed. There are special torque wrenches that dentists are supposed to use so that they don’t exceed a certain amount of force when putting on the implant abutment and the crown. Once the implant was a little loose, bacteria could get into the space between the implant and your bone and start an infection, which would lead to the implant getting loose and eventually falling out.
If you went to a dentist who knew what he or she was doing, you should have no problem getting a new implant placed. But if you don’t want to do that, a bridge is an acceptable alternative. It wasn’t that long ago when a bridge was the only fixed option for replacing a tooth.
We wish you the best in getting this resolved.
This blog is sponsored by Marietta cosmetic dentists Drs. Cristi Cheek and Christina Chandler.