What To Do With A Broken Dental Implant On Vacation

by Andrew Mueller, DMD, MD | Aug 1, 2023

Getting out of town and away from your daily routine is an experience most people look forward to with anticipation. But whether you’re traveling for work, visiting family and friends, or finally investing in that around-the-world getaway of your dreams, nothing can quite ruin the fun like a dental emergency.

If you’re scheduled to get dental implants before your trip, recently underwent implant surgery, or have established dental implants but haven’t seen your doctor in a while, it’s important to keep your oral health in mind as you prepare for your upcoming travels. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent implant issues from occurring while away from home. And, even if an unexpected problem does arise, being well informed can help you deal with it proactively, no matter where in the world you may be.

Let’s take a look:

Signs You May Need Emergency Dental Care

It’s very rare for dental implants to break, but how will you know if they do? Here are some signs to be on the lookout for in the event that you suspect damage may have occurred:

  • You are experiencing implant-related pain or discomfort
  • You have an infection in your gums or mouth
  • You can feel or visually see a chip or crack in your crown
  • Your implant or crown feels loose and is moving when you chew
  • The alignment of your teeth feels off when you bite or chew
  • You sustained impact to your face or mouth
  • Part of your implant has broken and come out of your mouth

Implant damage can result from an issue with any one of the three parts that comprise a dental implant—the post, abutment, or crown. It’s most common for problems to arise with the crown or abutment, which can be repaired or replaced without surgical intervention. If damage occurs to the implant post itself, a surgical procedure may be necessary to fix it (but this is extremely rare).

How To Prevent It From Happening

The best way to avoid a broken implant or any other dental emergency while traveling is to take good care of your teeth. This means brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, using your waterpik daily, maintaining a healthy diet, and seeing your doctor for regular cleanings and check-ups.

If you grind your teeth, wearing a night guard is an important means of protecting implants from damage. Patients who have recently undergone implant surgery must avoid putting excessive pressure on their teeth until full osseointegration (bonding to the jawbone) has taken place.

While you are healing from your implant surgery (for 8-12 weeks after surgery), it is crucial to eat only a soft food diet: foods that are “mash-able” with a fork and do not require any tearing as you bite. This allows your mouth to heal and helps prevent breaks from occurring. 

How To Prepare for or Respond to a Dental Emergency

If the unthinkable happens and you do experience an implant emergency while traveling, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Prompt care is important; call our office immediately to schedule an appointment.  
  • Keep the damaged implant still; don’t try to chew or manipulate it yourself to repair it.
  • Gather and bring any broken parts of your dental implant with you to the dentist.
  • Use a cold compress on your implant area if you’re experiencing pain or discomfort.

Preparing for a Trip

As you prepare for your upcoming trip, be sure to be meticulous about packing all of your oral hygiene supplies—toothbrush, toothpaste, waterpik, and night guard (if applicable). If you’re flying, keep them with you in your carry-on luggage in case you’re separated from your checked bags overnight.

If you’re due for a dental appointment or will be gone for a long period of time, contact our office to schedule an appointment before you go.  

Be cautious about trying new foods and/or activities that might put your implants at risk—particularly if your implant surgery was recent.

Contact Doctors Implants if you have questions or concerns before traveling. Our teams in Charleston, SC, San Antonio, TX, Oklahoma City, OK, and Wichita Falls, TX will be happy to provide answers so you can enjoy your vacation. 

About the Author

Andrew Mueller, DMD, MD

Dr. Andrew Mueller loves being an oral and Maxillofacial surgeon. After completing both dental and then medical school, he did a general surgery residency and an oral/maxillofacial surgery residency (both at Parkland hospital in Dallas, Texas). He has performed countless general anesthetics in the operating room, learning how to safely put patients to sleep and wake them back up.