Your mouth is full of bacteria. All these bacteria are eager to exploit a situation that allows them to grow in unchecked numbers, which is what we describe as an infection. As we’ve noted before, dental implants can get infected just like regular teeth. This can be a serious situation, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to lose your implant.
Dental Implant Infection: Causes and Effects
Infection of dental implants is similar to periodontal infection of your natural teeth, what is more casually described as gum disease. It has many of the same causes, including:
- Natural susceptibility to infection
- Poor oral hygiene
- Infection of neighboring tooth
However, there are some causes of infection that are specific to dental implants themselves. These include infection during the surgery, and a poor design or placement of the dental implant or dental crown that makes it hard to clean and may encourage bacterial growth.
And as with natural teeth, when dental implants become infected they can suffer serious consequences. Receding gums and bone loss can expose the dental implant, lead to loosening of the implant, and may eventually lead to implant failure.
How an Infected Implant Might Be Treated
As with a natural tooth, we don’t have to just give up on a dental implant that has become infected. Often, a peri-implant treatment can preserve the implant. This will usually involve deep cleaning of the implant to remove tartar and plaque from the implant. If you have lost a significant amount of bone, a new bone graft may be used. In some cases, we may have to remove the dental crown to allow the implant to heal.
In other cases, it may be recommended that we remove the dental implant to allow the site to heal. We will try to avoid this, but sometimes it’s the best option to battle an infection.
Prevent Infection and Preserve Your Implants
Dental implants require regular dental checkups to stay healthy, just like your natural teeth. Sometimes you may need more frequent check-ups if you are vulnerable to infection. If you have dental implants and are overdue for a check-up, we invite you to make our office your new dental home.