What you should know about dental implants infection

Dental implant infection is one of the most challenges that some patients will face after the implantation procedure. Dental implant infection is the most common complication of dental implants that patients may worry about. However, the good news is that this complication will not happen to everyone. Dental implants work just like natural teeth and can become infected just like natural teeth, in which case dental implant infection will occur, and infected dental implants will become sick or fail if neglected or not regularly cared for by a dental professional.

Can a dental implant infection be treated?

Sometimes dental implants can become infected, causing soft tissue inflammation and jawbone loss around the implant, which is often caused by a condition called peri-implant disease. Peri-implant is an inflammation similar to gingival disease and affects the supporting gum and jawbone tissues around the dental implant. Symptoms of a dental implant infection include bleeding gums when brushing, sensitivity or swelling of the gums around the implant, and excessive deepening of the gum line around the implant.

dental implants infection

The problem with this situation is that it can destroy the bone around the infected dental implant and eventually cause the implant to become weak. If you are concerned about the condition of your implants, you can visit a periodontist for an evaluation. The dentist can quickly and easily diagnose peri-implantitis with clinical examination and radiography. The long-term goal is to prevent infection and preserve the implant. The symptoms of an infected dental implant are similar to gingival diseases and can include one or more of the following:
  • Loose or shaky dental implants
  • Red or swollen gums around the implant
  • Bad Breath
  • Throbbing pain or discomfort in the area
  • pain to touch
  • Discharge (pus) is visible from the area.
  • Threads are visible on the implant.
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Fever
  • Bleeding when brushing around the implant

Diagnosis of dental implant infection

One of the first things a dentist will do is take dental radiographs of the infected dental implant to see if any jawbone has been lost or not. They may also gently examine the area around the implant to assess the level of infection and inflammation. By carefully examining the target area, the dentist can hope to be able to detect signs of infection in time because early detection is important to save the implant.   Depending on the level of infection, your dentist may prescribe special mouthwashes or a combination of other options to get the implant back on track. Similar to gingival diseases, one of the problems with this disease is that it often does not cause any pain, and as a result, patients are often unaware of implant infection. The periodontist will evaluate the source of inflammation because peri-implants have many causes. Peri-implants can be caused by problems such as cement remaining on the implant, placing the implants too close to each other or angulation of the implant in the bone, poor oral and dental hygiene, poor bone quality, systemic problems such as diabetes, smoking, fracture of the implant and overloading of the implant. A growing number of studies report that peri-implant disease affects up to 30% of all implants placed and that anaerobic bacteria are the main culprits.

Peri-implant treatment

Peri-implant treatment options may include antibiotics, surgery, laser therapy with surface disinfection, mechanical debridement, or antimicrobial therapy. As soon as a dental implant infection is diagnosed, treatment should be done, and this treatment depends on the amount of bone loss and the aesthetic effect of the dental implant. Then, the surface of the infected dental implant should be cleaned and the missing supporting bone should be reconstructed through bone grafting if possible. Some methods of cleaning the implant surface are performed through surgical and non-surgical treatment, such as 1) local debridement, 2) disinfection of the implant surface, 3) disinfection treatment (in case of advanced bone loss), and 4) implant removal. Peri-implant treatment is very technical depending on the type of implant used, the location of the dental implant and the severity of the bone loss. For a mild infection, the specialist doctor may use antibiotics, but if the infection is more severe, surgery should be used for mechanical and chemical disinfection around the dental implant. If the infection and bone loss are in the early stages, bacterial plaque can be removed non-surgically with antibiotic treatment and revision of the prosthesis design. The earlier the infection is treated, the easier the treatment and the greater the chance of success. If the bone loss is moderate to advanced, it may be necessary to surgically remove the damaged peri-implant soft tissues, disinfect the surface of the micro-implant, and finally use bone regeneration methods to restore the lost bone. If the dental implant is already loosened due to severe infection, its recovery is not possible. In this case, it is necessary to remove the implant and graft the local area with the bone. As soon as the infection is gone and the new bone is regenerated, another dental implant may be placed at a later stage.  

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