Though they do come with a good 95% success rate, dental implants can sometimes cause the patient problems. Many of the issues are preventable when a patient is proactive. But some do develop on their own due to other reasons. The risk of developing implant problems is not high, but it is never a bad idea to have all of the information possible.
What Can Cause Dental Implant Infections?
The problems that lead to implant infections vary and depend on many factors determined by each patient. Things like poor healing, pre-existing medical conditions, lack of bone, and surgical techniques can cause an implant to become infected.
Dental implants are technically considered a surgical procedure, and since the human mouth is full of bacteria, an infection can happen. If a patient experiences any symptoms such as pain, fever, and swelling/redness that lasts more than four days, they should call their provider.
If a patient has any conditions such as gum disease, cancer, or diabetes, their healing time may be delayed, leading to unwanted complications from the procedure. These problems can also be made worse by smoking and drinking too close to the procedure’s conclusion.
Lack of Bone
If a patient has less dense bones, extra steps may need to be taken to ensure that the implant has enough bone to grow off of. The extra procedure can lead to more complications if not handled properly.
The dentist providing the care must be well-versed in all proper sterilization and aseptic techniques before operating. If they are not, the patient can suffer because of improper procedure.
Dental Implant Infection Symptoms
The symptoms of an infected implant are close to the symptoms of gum disease and can include any of the following:
- Loose implant
- Puffiness or redness around the implant
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Foul breath
- Pain or throbbing in the area
- Pus from the area
- Chewing difficulty
If a patient experiences any of these symptoms for more than four days to one week following the procedure, they should call their provider to further assess the situation.
What Should You Do If Your Dental Implant Is Infected?
Before any action is determined, the dentist will run an X-ray of the area to check for bone loss. If the infection is minor, they will provide the patient with a prescription for an antibiotic to take to rid the mouth of the infection.
In more serious cases, when the infection has developed into something known as peri-implantitis (a big portion of the bone was lost), the implant will likely have to be removed. This will typically be done surgically. In some of these circumstances, the dentist may decide to let the bone loss progress to a point when the implant can be removed with forceps. Some patients may be able to qualify for reimplantation through bone grafts and several months of healing.