Everything You Wanted To Know About Dental Implant Infections

dental implant infectionsDental implants look and work like natural teeth and, just like them, can become infected. A dental implant infection is one of the most common complications following surgery and, in most cases, is a minor problem that’s soon cleared up.

Whether you already have dental implants or are considering this life-enhancing procedure, here are some answers to commonly asked questions about dental implant infections.

What is a dental implant infection?

A dental implant infection is where the area around the implant site gets inflamed. There are two major types:

1) Peri-implant mucositis is an inflammation of the soft tissue around an implant but with no additional bone loss. It is the less serious of the two infections and is typically caused by poor oral hygiene, allowing plaque biofilm to form between the implant and prosthetic crown.

2) Peri-implantitis, a destructive inflammatory condition of the soft and hard tissues around dental implants affecting a large area of the bone covering the artificial tooth root. The condition can result from untreated peri-implant mucositis.

What happens if your dental implants get infected?

Although dental implants don´t get cavities, they can become infected just like natural teeth. Usually, a minor infection is treated promptly, and there´s little chance it could become serious. However, if the infection advances, it could cause bone loss around the implant site, leading to dental implant failure.

What causes infection around dental implants?

The most common causes of dental implant infection are 

  • Poor oral hygiene – not brushing or flossing teeth regularly
  • Smoking
  •  An allergic reaction to the implant
  •  Chronic health conditions such as diabetes
  •  A compromised immune system
  • A misaligned bite that could contribute to conditions that encourage the growth of bacteria
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth.

Can dental implants cause infection?

If a dental implant has been contaminated during the surgical procedure through improper sterilization, it can become infected. Infection may also occur if implants are not adequately spaced, leaving a gap between the implant and the bone. This can become a fertile breeding ground for germs.

Low-quality implants can also leave a space between the implant and the jawbone, attracting bacteria. That´s all the more reason to engage the services of well-trained and experienced implant professionals with a strong track record of success, such as the team at Chesterfield Dentistry.

How do I know if my dental implant is infected?

Common signs of a dental implant infection are:

  • Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.
  • Red or swollen gums. However, note that moderate swelling is expected after a surgical procedure.
  • A throbbing sensation or a dull ache when you touch the implant.
  • A loose or wobbly implant that feels like it is going to fall out.
  • Difficulty chewing.
  • Fever, which is a sign that your body is fighting an infection.
  • Bleeding or pus from the gums or implant area. Even if the gum only bleeds during brushing, this might still be a cause for concern

How can I prevent infection after dental implant surgery?

Any part of the body that undergoes surgery is at risk of infection when exposed and while healing. The good news is that the risk of dental implant infection is relatively low, especially if you stick to a proper care regime post-implant surgery. This entails:

  • Maintaining good oral hygiene – gently brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing to prevent the accumulation of infection-causing bacteria.
  • Avoiding food and drinks with a high sugar content – sugar particles can hide in tiny crevices in the mouth and attract bacteria.
  • Avoiding smoking – tobacco products can jeopardize the body´s ability to heal properly.

What should I do if I have an infected dental implant?

The infection will not go away on its own and could cause serious oral damage if left untreated. Therefore, if you think your implant is infected, call your dentist immediately.

How are dental implant infections treated?

Below are some of the ways dental implant infections can be treated:

  • Typically, dentists will clean the area and then prescribe a course of antibiotics.
  • If the infection is caused by an abscess localized around the implant root, the pus will be drained and dead tissue removed. The patient will also be given antibiotics.
  • If the implant is failing because of infection, it will have to be removed.

Preventing Dental Implant Infections
When you are in experienced hands, you don´t have to worry about dental implant infections leading to implant failure. At Chesterfield Dentistry, we provide dental implant solutions that will improve your quality of life. Contact us today at (314) 786 3360 or make a booking online.