Built to be long-lasting replacements for lost teeth, most dental implant
procedures work well. But sometimes, issues like peri-implantitis, an infection, can happen. This article explains dental implant
infections, how to diagnose them, and possible treatments.
Dental Implant Infection
Peri-implantitis is like gum disease, affecting the gums around a dental implant. Usually caused by bacteria, it can happen right after the implant or years later, causing potential bone loss and implant failure. Symptoms include gums that bleed easily and increased space between the implant and gum.
Signs also include swollen gums and a possible bad smell. The main worry is that the bone supporting the infected implant gets damaged. If you notice these symptoms, see your dentist quickly.
Diagnosing Dental Implant Infection
First, the dentist takes an X-ray to see the infected implant. They gently probe the area to check for infection. Early diagnosis is crucial to save the implant.
One issue is that this infection usually doesn’t hurt, so patients may not know about it. The dentist also checks if other problems, like cementitis or a bone grafting procedure, could be causing the inflammation.
If there’s an infection, a key step is cleaning the infected implant, which can be hard depending on the implant type. Disinfecting the area comes next. For mild infections, the dentist might suggest antibiotics. For severe infections with more bone loss, a surgical procedure, along with cleaning, disinfection, and antibiotics, may be needed.
The sooner you treat an implant infection, the better. If the implant is loose due to advanced infection and bone loss, saving it may be tough. In such cases, the implant might be removed to allow healing, and you may get implants again once the area is infection-free. Regular dental checkups are crucial for implant patients to catch any issues early.