Learn effective ways to treat and prevent infection around dental implant. Discover essential tips for a healthy, lasting smile. Don’t miss out!
A dental implant is a replacement option for a missing tooth. It is a small metal piece that gets put into your jawbone. This metal piece acts like a root for your new tooth. After it is put in, your jawbone grows around it to hold it in place. Once the metal piece is stable, a little connector called an abutment is attached to it. This abutment sticks out of your gum and holds your new tooth. The new tooth is made to look just like your other teeth. It is put on top of the abutment, and it stays in place when you eat and talk. Getting a dental implant takes a few steps and can take some time. But it is a good way to replace a missing tooth.
A dental implant infection, also known as peri-implantitis, is a condition that occurs around a dental implant. It is similar to periodontal (gum) disease but specifically affects the tissues surrounding a dental implant. Peri-implantitis is characterized by inflammation and infection of the gums and bone supporting the implant. It can lead to the loss of bone around the implant and, if left untreated, may eventually result in the loss of the implant itself. In this article, we will find out the causes, symptoms and how to treat dental implant infection.
Causes of Dental Implant Infection
Dental implant infection can happen for a few reasons. Firstly, not keeping the mouth clean after getting the implant is a big factor. This can let harmful bacteria grow and cause an infection. Secondly, if someone smokes, it can make infections more likely because it weakens the body’s ability to fight them off. Thirdly, if a person had gum disease before getting the implant, they have a higher chance of developing an infection around it.
If someone has diabetes that is not well controlled, it can also make infections more likely. This is because the body has a harder time healing and fighting off germs. Some people have conditions that weaken their immune system, which can increase the risk of infections around dental implants.
If the implant is not put in the right way, it can lead to problems, including infections. Putting too much pressure on the implant before it is properly attached to the bone can also cause complications. Lastly, for some people, their genes might make them more likely to have issues with their gums and implants. So, it is important to be aware of these factors and take good care of your oral health after getting a dental implant.
Symptoms of a Dental Implant Infection
If your dental implant is infected, you might notice:
- Your gums around the implant might become swollen and red.
- Your gums might bleed.
- You might taste something bad or notice a bad smell.
- You could feel pain or discomfort around the implant.
- The implant might start to feel loose.
If you think you have an infection, it is really important to talk to your dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible. Getting help early is very important to treat the problem and stop it from getting worse. They might need to clean your implant professionally, give you medicine (like antibiotics), or in more serious cases, do surgery. It is also super important to keep your mouth clean and visit your dentist regularly to prevent infections around dental implants.
How To Treat Infection Around Dental Implant?
In order to treat infection around dental implant, firstly, the dentist takes an X-ray of the infected dental implant to see if there is any bone loss. Then, they gently check around the implant to see how swollen and infected it is. After that, they suggest what to do next. So, right after getting dental implants, it is really important to see the dentist every six months for a checkup. This helps the dentist keep an eye on your natural teeth and make sure the implant spots are not getting swollen, infected, or wobbly. Acting fast can stop more problems and keep your implant and your overall health in good shape.
To fight infection around dental implant, it is important to know the different ways they can be treated. Luckily, there are many methods available to help you get your oral health back on track after an infection. If the infection around the tooth implant is not too severe, taking antibiotics might be all that’s needed. However, if this doesn’t work well enough, the dentist might use a combination of treatments. The choice of treatment depends on how much bone has been lost and how it affects the way your teeth look. Treating infections that happen after getting a dental implant involves cleaning the surface of the implant and fixing any lost bone. This can be done using techniques like bone grafting or using special substances that help with bone growth.
There are two main ways dentists clean teeth and implants:
- Mechanical Cleaning: This is when a dentist uses special tools like hooks and brushes or a machine called an Air Flow system to clean your teeth or implant by hand.
- Ultrasonic Cleaning: This method uses a high-frequency device that sends out vibrations to clean the area around the implant.
These cleaning methods are called submucosal debridement. If the spaces around the implant (called mucosal pockets) are deeper than 4 millimeters, your dentist might recommend using gentle scaling tools or mechanical cleaning. Usually, after the cleaning, the dentist will apply localized antiseptics to help with healing.
Surgical Cleaning – Open-Flap Debridement:
When a dental implant is in a tricky spot, dentists might use a surgical method. They make a small cut in the gum and lift it up to reach the infected area more easily. Then, they do a thorough cleaning and inject an antiseptic. Finally, they stitch the gum back together. This method is called open-flap debridement and it helps when it is hard to clean the implant with regular tools. It is especially used in tight or tricky spots.
Removing the abnormal crown
If the infection is only in the crown (the top part of the tooth), the dentist might need to take it off and put on a new one. After the swelling and redness go away, they can attach a new crown to fix the tooth.
Removing the infected tooth implant
If a lot of bone has been lost, the dentist might have to take out the dental implant. They usually do this only if the supporting bone is less than 3 to 4 millimeters deep. If a patient had a bone graft that’s fully healed after several months, they might be able to get a new implant. This process is called reimplantation.
Can Infected Dental Implants Be Saved?
If a dental implant gets infected, sometimes it can be fixed, but it depends on how bad it is and other things like how healthy you are. If we catch the infection early, we might be able to treat it with medicine and good cleaning, without doing big surgeries. We can also clean around the implant with special tools and use medicine. In tougher cases, we might need to do a small surgery to clean the infected part.
If only the top part (crown) is infected, we can take it off and put on a new one after the swelling goes away. But if there is a lot of bone loss, sometimes we have to take out the implant. We usually do this only if the bone is really thin, like less than 3 to 4 millimeters. If you had a bone surgery that’s all healed up, we might be able to put in a new implant later. It is important to remember that not all infected implants can be saved. If the infection has caused too much damage, we might have to remove it. The best thing to do will be decided by your dentist based on how your situation looks.
How To Prevent Dental Implant Infection?
Preventing dental implant infections is important for keeping your mouth healthy. Here are some easy steps you can take:
- Good Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth and gums gently twice a day with a soft toothbrush. Also, use dental floss or interdental brushes to clean between your teeth.
- Antimicrobial Mouthwash: Use a mouthwash recommended by your dentist. It helps kill bacteria in your mouth.
- Regular Check-ups: Visit your dentist every six months. They’ll check your natural teeth and the implant sites for any signs of infection.
- Avoid Smoking: Smoking can increase the risk of infection, so it’s best to quit or avoid it altogether.
- Balanced Diet: Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This supports your body’s ability to heal.
- Avoid Chewing on Hard Objects: Don’t use your teeth to open things or chew on really hard items. This can put extra stress on the implant.
- Protect from Injury: Be careful during sports or activities where there’s a risk of hitting your mouth. Wearing a mouthguard can help.
- Follow Post-Operative Instructions: If you’ve recently had an implant, follow any instructions given by your dentist for aftercare and hygiene.
- Manage Health Conditions: If you have diabetes or any other health conditions, keep them under control. This can help prevent complications.
- Regular Cleaning and Check-ups: Make sure to have regular professional cleanings and check-ups with your dentist.