Infected Dental Implants
Dental implants are the new gold standard for tooth replacement at virtually all ages and situations. Surgically embedded into the jaw, dental implants offer unparalleled function, longevity, and appearance. These are most definitely NOT your grandfather’s dentures!
Not only do they look and function just like natural teeth, they also have a success rate of around 95%, making them a safe and dependable choice. As in all surgical interventions, though, there is a small risk of infection. In addition to being uncomfortable, infections can cause other complications, as well, so it’s important to watch out for the signs and symptoms.
Causes of Infection in Dental Implants
Infections can take root following the placement of dental implants for a number of reasons. Some have to do with underlying health conditions such as advanced gum disease, oral cancer, or diabetes. These conditions, among others, can draw out the healing process, which can open the door to bacteria entering the healing surgical site where they can then multiply. If you have any such health condition, it is especially important to be vigilant about good oral hygiene. Your dentist or oral surgeon may also give you special instructions due to an increased risk of infection. If so, it is very important to follow these protocols.
Infections can also begin with poor oral hygiene. Though your mouth will be sore following the placement of dental implants, it is important to keep up with the cleaning practices that your dentist or oral surgeon recommends. Failing to do so could result in an infection, which is not only a problem that requires treatment, but could also jeopardize the integrity of your new dental implants.
Finally, smoking can also slow down the healing process and make infections more likely to occur. This is because smoking slows down one’s overall ability to heal and thrive, which can cause problems following a surgical intervention such as the placement of dental implants.
Signs and Symptoms of Infections in Dental Implants
The signs of infection following the placement of dental implants are much like those of any other infection. They include:
- Pain and swelling
- Red or bleeding tissues
- Increasing and/or persistent pain
- Persistent bad breath
- Pus or discolored drainage
- Implants that feel loose
What to Do if You Suspect a Dental Implant Infection
If you suspect that you may have an infection of your dental implants based on this or other criteria, it is important to contact your dentist or oral surgeon right away. She or he will want to do an exam to assess any possible infection and may wish to treat it with antibiotics. These may be administered orally or in the form of a medicated mouthwash.
It is important to take the entire course of medication as prescribed, even if you think it has gone away. This will prevent the infection from coming back.
How to Prevent Dental Implant Infections
Dental implant infections are uncommon and largely avoidable. The best way to prevent dental implant infections is simply to follow the at-home care instructions provided to you by your dentist or oral surgeon and be sure to maintain quality oral hygiene. By taking those simple steps, and keeping an eye out for any concerning signs, you’re sure to be on the road to recovery in no time, with healthy dental implants that could last a lifetime.