Clinical tip: how to easily remove broken abutment screws in dental implants

Jan. 24, 2011
For those restoring dental implants, an unfortunate but often unavoidable occurrence is a broken abutment screw. Dr. Gordon Christensen talks about two different ways to remove the screw when this happens.

By Gordon J. Christensen, DDS, MSD, PhD

An unfortunate but often unavoidable occurrence for those of us restoring dental implants is breakage of a screw holding an implant abutment in place. This frustrating situation usually leaves a fragment of the screw in the implant body. How do you remove the screw? Usually, this is a relatively simple task.

  • First, place a small (1/2 round bur) in a low-speed handpiece. Lightly touch the bur to the broken fragment on the periphery of the broken screw. Often, the screw fragment will be unscrewed by the rotation of the ½ round bur. If it does not come out with this technique, try this next technique ...
  • Obtain a small screwdriver kit from a hobby shop or hardware store. These are readily available and are easy to use for the following: Use a ¼ round bur in a high-speed handpiece to make a 1 mm slot across the most occlusal portion of the broken screw fragment. Hold the handpiece with both hands to avoid having the bur inadvertently jump into the implant body. Use an appropriate size “mini” screwdriver to remove the screw.

    Gordon J. Christensen Guide for Preferred Clients Jul./Aug. 2010, Vol. 15 Issue 4

Click here to read more clinical tips and current research from Dr. Gordon Christensen.

Author bio
Dr. Gordon Christensen is a practicing prosthodontist in Provo, Utah, and a Diplomate for the American Board of Prosthodontics. He is the founder and director of Practical Clinical Courses, an international continuing education organization initiated in 1981 for dental professionals. Dr. Christensen is a cofounder (with his wife, Rella) and senior consultant of CLINICIANS REPORT (formerly Clinical Research Associates), which has conducted research in all areas of dentistry since 1976. Dr. Christensen is an adjunct professor for Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.