Dental implants have an impressive success rate of more than 95% and are designed to last a lifetime. But that doesn’t mean problems don’t occur. Implants cannot suffer from tooth decay, but they can get infected just like natural teeth. Our mouths provide a hospitable environment for many different types of germs, and some will exploit any situation that allows them to grow unchecked. In other words, an infection. The condition can be serious, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you will lose your implant.
Although the risk of dental implant infection is low, it’s good to know what to look out for, just in case. Here are some of the signs that may indicate a dental implant is infected:
Pain when you chew: Some post-operative discomfort and pain are normal after any invasive dental procedure. Typically, dentists will suggest over-the-counter pain relief medicine, which should work. If the pain lasts for several days and interferes with your chewing, there could be an infection.
The implant feels loose: Dental implants are screwed directly into the bone in your jaw and should never come loose. Once implanted, they should remain stable for the rest of your life. If they’re loose and feel like they might fall out, something must have gone wrong. Therefore, you may need another procedure to fix the problem.
Fever: Infections cause most fevers which is when your body tries to kill bacteria or viruses by raising your normal body temperature. It is more difficult for germs to survive in this environment.
Bad breath: If you brush your teeth and your bad breath doesn’t go away, there could be a build-up of bacteria and debris in your mouth. This may also be the cause of why you notice a constant bad taste.
Red and swollen gums: One of the principal indicators of a dental implant infection is red and swollen gums. While a bit of swelling around the implant site is normal, it should go down after the first few days. If not, it might be a red flag, and you should get it looked at.
Bleeding or pus: Whenever there is an infection, red and white blood cells rush to the area to destroy bacteria and viruses. If there is an infection in your gums, you may see blood and pus leaking into your mouth.
There isn’t one single cause, and often, multiple factors combine to cause a problem. Patients with underlying conditions such as diabetes and periodontitis (an inflammatory disease that affects the tissue around a tooth) are at a higher risk of poor healing. The longer it takes to heal, the more opportunities for an infection to take hold. Therefore, if you have any of these conditions, let your dentist know ahead of time so they can take appropriate measures.
Another possible cause is peri-implantitis, an infectious disease that causes inflammation around the surrounding gum and bone of an implant. It can occur without the proper care implants need. In some instances, poor surgical technique is to blame. That is why it is so important to visit an experienced dentist with an impressive track record in dental implant procedures such as Chesterfield Dentistry.
If you have a dental implant infection, it’s essential to get prompt treatment. Otherwise, the infection can spread to other teeth and may even move into the bloodstream, causing septicemia. If you suspect an infection contact your dentist immediately so they can take a look and, if necessary, start treatment.
One of the first things they will do is perform an x-ray of the affected implant. They may also gently probe the tissues around the implant site to assess the extent of the infection. In many cases, a course of antibiotics is all that is needed. However, if the infection has advanced deep within gum tissue and caused bone loss, the implant will have to be extracted.
The best way to treat dental plant infections is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Be sure to follow your dentist’s post-operative instructions to the letter and maintain good oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing are essential, as are regular dental check-ups. If you are someone who is prone to infections, you may need more frequent check-ups.
Are you thinking about dental implants? If so, there’s no need to be overly nervous about infections when you’re in our hands. At Chesterfield Dentistry, we provide superior dental implant solutions that let you smile, speak, bite and chew with confidence again.
Why not schedule a FREE implant consultation with Dr. Akinwande and her friendly dental team. Call today on (314) 469 6429 or make a booking online.