When a natural tooth experiences increased sensitivity, it is typically because outside stimuli are irritating its dentin, which in turn causes the tooth’s nerve to send pain signals to the brain. Dental implants, though, are different. They do not have any nerves, so it may seem very strange when they begin to feel sensitive. What causes sensitivity in a dental implant? Does it mean that your implant is failing? What should you do to address the situation? Read on below to find out.
Where Is the Sensitivity Coming From?
It is important to acknowledge that since implants do not have any nerves, they cannot feel sensitivity. However, the tissues around them can still feel pain and other sensations. Therefore, if your dental implant feels sensitive, the problem is likely coming from your jawbone, gums, or a nearby tooth, not from the implant itself.
Possible Causes of Sensitivity Near a Dental Implant
There are a number of reasons why the tissues near a dental implant might experience discomfort and sensitivity:
- Infection. If harmful bacteria infiltrate your gums or jawbone, they can create pain, inflammation, and sensitivity.
- Cavities. You might have a cavity in one of the natural teeth adjacent to your implant. Other forms of dental damage, such as a crack or thinning enamel, could also be present.
- Food impaction. Bits of food may get stuck between your implant and a neighboring tooth. This issue, known as food impaction, can place pressure on both the tooth and the implant, leading to discomfort and sensitivity.
- Tissue or nerve damage. Rarely, an implant is placed into the jawbone at an incorrect angle, depth, or location. It can damage the tissues it comes into contact with, causing you to experience sensitivity and pain. This issue is a remote possibility, but it does emphasize the importance of partnering with an experienced surgical team for your implant placement procedure.
What You Should Do
New or worsening dental sensitivity is always a reason to call your dentist. This is especially true if the problem is coming from near a dental implant. There is a chance that your implant could be on the verge of failing, and the sooner you receive care, the more likely it is that the issue can be addressed without invasive or extensive intervention.
At your appointment, your dental team will ask you some questions about your symptoms, perform a visual examination, and use imaging equipment to look beneath your gumline. Then, they will be able to offer a treatment recommendation. You might need something simple, like some antibiotics or prescription mouthwash. In other instances, surgery may be necessary.
Have you noticed some sensitivity near one of your dental implants? Seek professional care right away. Your dentist will do all they can to restore your comfort and protect your oral health.
Meet the Practice
Drs. Steve Koo and William Shepard proudly provide dental implant and other oral surgery services to the Katy/Cypress community. Their experience, knowledge, and advanced technology qualify them to help patients cope with dental implant sensitivity and a range of other issues. To learn more about them and how our team may be able to serve you, get in touch with us at 832-353-1100.