The Screw Head of the Dental Implant Broke Off. Is This Common? How Difficult to Fix?

My husband is in the process of getting a dental implant. Each step has presented problems. The last part of the procedure that he had done involved implanting the screw. The screw head broke off. The dentist now wants to go in and notch the head with a lazer and try to remove it with a screwdriver. My husband is very hesitant to proceed. Is this a common occurrance and what risks are involved with the procedure to remove the screw and replace it with another. What would success rate be?

Doctor Answers 14

Implant Screw Breaking

I would not say this is a common event, but implant screws do sometimes break. It could be due to a defective screw or some other reason. When I've had to remove a broken screw I did it by carefully removing the screw with hand instruments. Notching the screw might be a good idea, but I wouldn't use a laser to do so. I've been told that broken screws can sometimes be vibrated loose ultrasonically, but I have not tried this myself.

Cleveland Dentist
4.8 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Not an easy fix but something has to be done.

This is not very common but it does happen and is one of the biggest nightmares in implant dentistry. I have  never heard of a laser being used to notch the screw head but if you don't get the remainder of the screw out without damaging the internal threads of the implant the implant will be useless.  Good Luck!

Broken Implant screw, the Why is important.

The screw head breaking off is an extremely rare occurence.  It is possible that the screw can be removed, but a lazer should not be part of this.  If may not be possible to remove the screw without damaging the interface of the implant. The implant itself can be removed and a new implant placed and this may turn out to be the best alternative depending on the situation, but most importantly why the screw head broke should be determined so that this does not happen with the new implant.

Screw head breaking off

Aligned with other authors above, this is extremely rare. I think there was either improper torquing technique or manufacture defect that has led to the screw fracture. Laser is certainly not effective nor a good idea. It produces heat and that is not good for the implant. The best is to attempt to remove the screw. If not successful (in the event the screw part is to deep) there is nothing that can be done and implant must be removed altogether and plan for replacement.


Dr. Kazemi

H. Ryan Kazemi, DMD
Bethesda Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Dental Implants, dental bridges, All-on-4

This can happen, the question is why did it happen? Are there not enough implants to support what is in place? Are the implants not parallel? Can you advise if it is single implant or overdenture?  

Getting the broken screw out is usually not a problem. There are several ways to get them out and most of the good implant companies offer assistance with this.  I would suggest that you find out what type of implant this is and why the screw broke and make any changes as necessary. This might prevent the problem from occurring again.





Ronald Konig DDS
Houston Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Broken Implant Screw

The weakest link in any implant system is the small screw that attaches the implant abutment to the head of the implant. This screw can break yes but should not be considered a "common occurance." There are special tools made to remove a fractured screw from an implant. I've honestly never heard of a laser being used for this purpose and might in fact be contraindicated. This might be worth a second opinion.

Brad Lockhart, DDS
Tustin Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Broken head of dental implant

This is an extremely uncommon event in the hands of an experienced surgeon. This particular event is almost always due to one of two reasons. The first is lack of experience in placing dental implants. The reason the implant broke was because of too much torque placed on that particular implant. Whether it is from faulty implant (which is extremely rare if a legitimate implant brand was used, not a cut rate cheap implant company that the dentist used to save a few dollars) or a inexperienced dentist, too much torque was placed.  Removal is the only remedy. This usually needs to be done with a trephine bur. Using a laser against any metal object is tantamount to malpractice and is extremely dangerous.  I am curious as to what type of doctor placed this implant. The success rate would be excellent if removed  and replaced by a properly trained surgeon. Seek the help of a board certified Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon for help in this matter.  Beware of doctors that have only had a weekend course or two in dental implants. It takes several years of proper training to place implants safely,

Brian Dorfman, MD, DMD
Phoenix Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Broken Implant Screw

Although not considered common I have seen broken implant screws occur from time to time. The interface between implant and abutment (or Implant Post) is retained by a screw that is torqued down to a certain amount of force that is recommended by the implant manufacturer. Assuming that there are no defective parts the specifics of the case must be considered to find out WHY this happened. Did the abutment or Post seat and fit accurately onto the platform of the Dental Implant? If not this could be the reason for Screw head fracture. Was the Implant Crown in a proper bite relationship with the opposing tooth? Additionally, was the right diameter Implant Platform selected? The retrieval of broken Implant Screws can be tricky and challenging. Usually there are specific retrieval kits made by the specific Implant manufacturer. I do not recommend  using a Dental Laser around Implants due to the amount of heat they generate. The retrieval of broken Implant parts takes patience and finesse but can be done in the right hands.

Broken Implant screw complication

Unfortunately, it sounds like the tiny screw connecting the abutment (post) to the actual implant broke.  This is one of the rare complications we sometimes face in implant dentistry.  Retrieving the remaining screw is tricky.  I imagine your dentist will use a laser to remove any excess tissue and stop the bleeding in the area to get better visibility.  Then he will try to use a micro screwdriver to try and tease the screw out of the implant.   Sometimes it’s very difficult to accomplish this task, hopefully he’ll be successful.  Best wishes to your husband.

Peter Mann, DDS
Manhattan Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Complications of screw retained restorations

Implant restorations can be srew or cement retained. The biggest advantage of screw retained restoration is retrievability. Unfortunately sometimes screws brake. Depends on implant system that was used for your husband, but there are special instruments to facilitate removal of broken screw, and it can be done. Of course the more experienced doctors have "the bag of tricks" that they use in such critical situations.  Notching the remaining screw and unscrewing it sounds like a good plan, however I never heard using laser for that purpose. I can assure you with one, this procedure requires a lot of patience from the patient and the doctor.

Zina Kaleinikova, DDS, MS
Cleveland Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.