In the vast majority of cases, dental implants are successful. They provide sturdy tooth replacement that has the potential to last a lifetime. However, some individuals may find themselves suffering from an infection in the tissue around the implant, which can drastically increase the risk of implant failure. How can you recognize such an infection? Is there anything you can do to save the implant? In this blog post, we will discuss these important questions.
Recognizing an Infected Implant
There are basically two types of infections that can affect dental implants. In peri-implant mucositis, bacteria attack the soft tissue around an implant, such as the gums. In most cases, peri-implant mucositis is highly treatable and reversible. That is why you should see your dentist as soon as possible if you notice that the gums around an implant are red, bleeding, or swollen.
Left untreated, peri-implant mucositis might develop into peri-implantitis, which is characterized by an infection both in the soft tissue and in the bone around an implant. As the infection attacks the bone, the bone begins to deteriorate. Thus, the implant loses its base of support and may start to feel loose. In severe cases, the infection can sneak into the bloodstream and cause systemic health issues. Surgical intervention is usually necessary to address peri-implantitis.
Treating Dental Implant Infections
The best way to address dental implant infections is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Thus, you should be diligent about oral hygiene. Be sure to diligently follow your dentist’s post-operative instructions after your placement surgery. If you have already had your dental implants for some time, you must continue to protect them via thorough oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing are both essential. You can also reduce your risk of infection by avoiding the use of tobacco and carefully managing any diseases you might have that affect your immune system, such as diabetes.
But what if, despite your efforts at prevention, you end up with an infection around one of your implants? If the infection is not serious, adjustments to your oral hygiene routine, along with antibiotic treatment, may be all that is necessary. However, if damage to the bone has already occurred, you may need to visit a specialist for interventive care. It might be necessary to remove the implant, fight the infection with antibiotics, allow the area to heal, and then replace the implant.
Are you thinking about getting dental implants? There is no need to be overly afraid that you will suffer from an infection and subsequent dental implant failure. However, you must be aware of the possibility so you can take proper measures to protect your restored teeth from complications.
About Our Practice
Four Town Dental has two talented general dentists on-staff, both of whom have extensive experience and training in dental implants. If you have questions about dental implants, or you are concerned about the well-being of an implant you already have, do not hesitate to contact us at 860-749-6088.