Infected Dental Implants
Losing a tooth to dental decay, trauma, or gum disease is not uncommon. There are a number of ways to replace missing teeth but one of the best ways is with a dental implant! Dental implants are a relatively common restorative procedure and have a success rate between 95% and 97% but on rare occasion, can become infected for a number of reasons.
An infection around a dental implant is called peri-implantitis which is a form of gum disease that can be the result of poor oral hygiene, bruxism, tobacco use, diabetes or a compromised immune system, or an allergic reaction to the implant. If you have a dental implant and suspect that you might be developing an infection, there are a few warning signs to look out for.
Swelling and Redness
Immediately following implant placement surgery, it is normal to experience some degree of swelling and redness but that should subside within a few days. If you have swelling and redness after your implant has healed, you may have an infection, especially if accompanied by a fever.
It is also normal to feel a little pain after implant placement surgery but any dental pain should be able to be controlled using over-the-counter or prescribed pain medications. If the pain increases or spreads and you find yourself having trouble eating and speaking, you may have an infection.
Blood or pus coming from the implant site is likely a result of infection. When an infection is present, red and white blood cells collect in the area and work to destroy the pathogens causing the infection and could result in bleeding or pus leaking from the area.
Persistent bad breath or a constant bad taste in your mouth that does not go away even after brushing could be due to an implant infection. A buildup of bad bacteria and debris can cause implant infections and can sit in your gum pockets and leak into your mouth.
A dental implant is screwed directly into the jaw bone which is why dental implants are so stable and secure. If an implant becomes loose, you may have an infection causing you to lose bone structure and you could need a bone graft and a new implant.
If you have one or more of these symptoms, it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible so they can diagnose the problem and begin treatment. Depending on the level of infection, your dentist may prescribe a mouth rinse along with an antibiotic to eradicate the infection. If your infection is more severe, you could require treatment in the form of laser therapy surgery, mechanics debridement or antimicrobial therapy.
Peri-implantitis can be damaging not only to the implant but can also lead to systemic issues that could cause damage to the heart or other body organs. If left untreated, a low-grade bacterial infection can have severe consequences in addition to implant failure.
The goal of dental implants is to give you back a healthy smile. If you suspect you have an infected implant, it is important to contact your dentist as soon as possible to begin treatment. Your dentist can diagnose peri-implantitis quickly with a simple exam and x-ray and will begin treatment right away to stop the progression of the infection and save the implant.