Dental Implant Infection: Causes and Treatment Options

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Data shows that around 70% of American adults are missing at least one tooth. For all of them, dental implants are the best solution for this problem. The best implants, including the dental implants at Carefree Smiles Dentistry, are durable, cost-effective, and replace the missing tooth seamlessly, giving people their confidence back. 

However, dental implants also carry some health risks, like any other dental procedure. Namely, they are prone to infections, especially if the work wasn’t done well and professionally enough. If you are wondering what the main signs and causes of a dental implant infection are, stay tuned. We will explain it all in the sections that follow. 

Dental Implants: A Crash Course

A dental implant is a metal post that a dentist surgically attaches to your jawbone. It is necessary if your tooth has fallen out completely and there is nothing to hold an artificial one in place. 

Once the implant is in place and your bone heals somewhat, a surgeon can mount an artificial tooth on the implant. You get your smile back, and no one will be able to tell there is a difference at all. 

Generally speaking, dental implants are a relatively safe procedure. They can last for a long time, and getting one ensures the rest of your natural teeth are healthy as nothing can cause them to decay. 

However, in some instances, dental implants can get infected. Bacteria can breed and cause decay if the implant is loose or your gums weren’t healthy at the time of the procedure. If you don’t treat the condition immediately, you risk bone damage and endanger your gums and teeth. 

What Are the Symptoms of a Dental Implant Infection?

Painful Chewing

Feeling pain while you chew immediately after you get a dental implant is normal. It will take some time before you get used to it. However, if the pain does not go away even after a few weeks have passed, there might be something wrong. 

In addition, if the pain does not go away even after you take painkillers, be sure to call your dentist. They will do tests and see what is causing the pain. 

Fever and Swelling

Though redness and swelling are rather common after surgery, they should not last for more than a few days. If they persist and are accompanied by a fever, you are most likely dealing with a dental implant infection. 

Bad Taste In Your Mouth

Dental implant infections are caused by an accumulation of bacteria and debris at the implant site. These will sit in your gums and slowly leak into your mouth, causing a bad taste. If you also have a bad breath and nothing can make it go away, call your dentist so they can check it out. 

Bleeding 

When there is an infection somewhere in the body, your white and red blood cells rush to the spot to fight it off. That causes blood or pus to leak from your gums into your mouth as you brush your teeth or eat. If the condition persists a few days after the surgery, make sure you get an appointment, as it is most likely due to an infection. 

A Loose Implant

A tooth implant is supposed to be wired into your jawbone, and it should remain stable throughout your life. However, if there is an infection in your gums, the implant may come loose, which can only cause more problems down the line. 

What Are the Causes of a Dental Implant Infection?

Different Underlying Conditions

Certain conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, or periodontitis, can cause the dental implant to heal poorly. If you suffer from any of these conditions, it is important to let your dentist know so that they can plan ahead and prevent any infections. 

Severe Bone Loss

Bone loss in your jaw can be caused by different factors. In most cases, it is due to certain meds or an underlying condition that affects bone structure and strength. Bone loss can be repaired, as all you will need is a graft to fill in for anything that is missing. 

However, a graft complicates matters somewhat, as it puts you at a greater risk for post-surgery infection. Still, your dentist will be aware of this and give you meds to ensure you do not develop it. 

Poor Dental Hygiene and Aftercare

Not caring for your teeth and ignoring your doctor’s advice might also cause an infection. It will create a good environment for the breeding of bacteria, and treating such an infection will not be easy. 

So, after your implant surgery, it is essential that you follow the instructions your dentist gives you. Brush and floss the area near the implant carefully and gently. Do not chew anything too hard or sticky with the tooth in question, so the implant stays in place while it heals. 

Faulty Surgical Technique

In some cases, the surgery itself might be the cause of your dental implant infection. If the implant or any instrument used in the procedure is not sterile, you will most likely develop an infection. 

Of course, this is not something you can control directly. However, what you can do is ensure that you get your implant at a reputable clinic. Check online reviews for surgeons, talk to some patients who have already had surgery, and get as much info as you can. Doing so will ensure the risk of infection due to unsterile instruments or irresponsible surgeons is minimal. 

Dental Implant Infection: Final Thoughts

As you have read, a dental implant infection is a serious condition that can have severe consequences if it is not treated immediately. Make sure you care for the implant closely after the surgery, as signs of infection will surely show. Call your dentist as soon as you notice these signs, because reacting quickly is of utmost importance. They will give you medication and ensure you are strong enough to handle the infection and stay healthy.

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