In order to actually function, a dental implant must integrate with your jaw. The implant (a small titanium screw) is placed in your jaw, which heals around it to achieve complete integration. The implant is surrounded by bone mass and is intended to be permanent. So does this mean that there's no way a dental implant can break?
Loss of Integration
The potential breakage of a dental implant isn't a pressing concern in dentistry. An implant may lose its integration with the surrounding bone mass, but this outcome is unlikely. Such an outcome would involve a serious accident that fractured or similarly damaged your jawbone. In the aftermath of an accident such as this, the fact that you'll need a new dental implant may not be a priority.
A direct impact to your jaw could conceivably weaken the implant's integration with the bone. You can mitigate risk when required. For example, wearing an appropriate mouthguard is critical when playing contact sports after receiving a dental implant. A potential accident under these circumstances may not detach the implant embedded in your jaw, but could conceivably loosen it. A sports mouthguard protects against this possibility.
Another way in which an implant may lose its integration with the surrounding bone mass is via infection. Preventing this destructive inflammation from occurring is certainly within your power. Peri-implant mucositis is a bacterial inflammation of the soft tissues surrounding the implant. If untreated, it may progress to peri-implantitis, which affects the soft and hard tissues surrounding the implant.
These hard tissues are your jawbone, which contains the implant. A destructive bacterial infection can reduce bone mass, and the resulting loss of mass can cause loosening and potential detachment of the implant. These infections can routinely be prevented with adequate oral hygiene, and your dentist will advise you how to brush and floss your implant's new prosthetic tooth. This care isn't complicated, but some caution will be needed immediately after implantation when your gums and jaw will be particularly sensitive.
The prosthetic tooth that was connected to your implant is not technically part of your implant. The implant itself is the titanium screw, which becomes an artificial tooth root. The prosthetic tooth is then connected to the implant (after implant-to-bone integration has been achieved). Should that tooth be damaged in any way, it can be disconnected from your implant and replaced. Essentially, an implant is permanent, but the tooth attached to it may not be.
Outright breakage of a dental implant isn't a concern, but you'll still need to protect the implant's integration with your jaw.
Contact a local dentist to learn more about dental implants.