What Causes Infections After My Dental Implant Procedure?

What Causes Infections After My Dental Implant Procedure? By Maylands Dental Centre | December 20, 2022

What Causes Infections After My Dental Implant Procedure?

Dental implant procedures are becoming more and more common. This advanced tooth replacement option involves surgically placing a titanium implant into the jawbone. The strong metal implant post of the implant serves as an artificial tooth root for dental prosthetics such as a dental bridge, dentures, or dental crown.

In some cases, dental implant patients experience complications after their procedure. One of these is infection. While it is alarming and can be quite painful, it is fortunately not common.

In this post, we will explore the most common causes of infection after dental implant surgery and what you can do to minimise your risk. We’ll also talk about what to do if you experience an infection after your implant procedure. Read on to learn more!

side view of dentist advicing and gesturing to patient in modern clinic

Is Infection Common After Getting Dental Implants?

Dental implants are a popular way to replace missing teeth and are generally considered safe and effective. However, as with any surgery, despite its high success rate, there is always a risk of infection.

The good news is that dental implant infections are relatively rare. According to studies,  they have a postoperative infection rate of 4-10%. Bacterial infection can usually be managed with antibiotics.

If you develop an infection after getting dental implants, it is important to see your dentist or a dental specialist immediately so the problem can be resolved quickly.

What Are the Signs That A Dental Implant Is Infected?

Discomfort after surgery is normal – but dental implant infections are not. An infection is a serious dental implant problem.

Dental implant infections can occur when bacteria enter the implant site. This can happen before, during, or after the surgery and can lead to dental implant failure.

Signs of dental implant infection include:

  • Severe pain
  • Persistent pain 
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Abscess drainage from the dental implant site
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in the mouth

If you have any of these signs of infection, you should see your dentist immediately. Treatment planning for dental implant infections includes the use of antibiotics. If the infection is not addressed, it can cause long-term complications such as severe damage to your gums, jaw bone and adjacent teeth.

What Causes A Dental Implant to Be Infected?

Dental implants are a popular way to replace missing teeth and are typically successful. However, dental implant surgery comes with a risk of complications and can sometimes become infected, which can cause many problems. The most common causes of dental implant infection are as follows:

  • Poor dental hygiene: If you don’t care for your teeth properly, bacteria can build up around the implant, increasing the risk of infection. This is the most common risk factor for dental implant infection. 
  • Gum disease: Gum diseases, like periodontitis, result from the infection of the gums. The most common gum disease associated with dental implants is peri-implantitis. It can result in bone loss and loss of implant attachment, and, eventually, dental implant failure.
  • Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of dental implant infections by reducing blood flow to the gums and increasing the number of bacteria in the mouth.
  • Crooked teeth: If your teeth are not aligned, it becomes harder to remove plaque. This increases bacteria in the mouth, leading to infection.
  • Trauma to the mouth: If you have an injury to your mouth, it can damage the tissue around the dental implant, loosen the metal implant post, and make you more vulnerable to infection.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes can also increase the risk of dental implant infection because it decreases blood flow to the gums. This causes poor healing, making it harder for wounds to heal properly. During the initial consultation, make sure to inform your dentist about any medical condition you have.

These are just a few of the most common causes of dental implant infections. An inexperienced dentist can also do more harm than good. If you think that you may have an infection, see a qualified implant dentist as soon as possible so they can address it before it gets worse.

Is Taking Antibiotics Enough to Fight Off Dental Implant Infection?

Dental implant infection is a serious problem that can lead to dental implant failure. Antibiotics are the first line of defence against dental implant infection, but these medications are not always enough to fight it. In some cases, dental implant surgery may be necessary to remove the infected implant and replace it with a new one.

If you have dental implants, you must see your dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings. This will help identify any problems early on. They will develop a treatment plan which will help prevent dental implant infection.

How Are Dental Implant Infections Addressed?

There are a few different ways to address dental implant infections:

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics can be taken orally or applied directly to the affected area. They can help kill the bacteria that are causing the infection.
  • Cleaning: The affected area will need to be cleaned thoroughly. This may involve rinsing the area with a medicated mouthrinse or using a special dental instrument called an ultrasonic scaler.
  • Removal: In some cases, the dental implant must be removed. This is usually only done if the infection does not respond to antibiotics or if it is a recurrent infection.
  • Bone graft: A bone graft may be necessary if the infection has caused damage to the surrounding bone. A bone graft involves using donor or synthetic bone to replace the lost bone tissue.
  • Soft tissue graft: A soft tissue graft may be necessary if the infection has caused damage to the soft tissue, like the gums. A soft tissue graft involves using donor or synthetic material to replace the lost gum tissue.

Dental implant infections that are not addressed immediately may eventually lead to dental implant failure. This is why early diagnosis and prompt treatment are crucial.

Can I Still Keep the Dental Implant if It Gets Infected?

Dental implants are placed in the jaw bone and act as a replacement for the natural tooth root. A dental implant becomes infected when bacteria enter the gum tissue or the bone around the implant. Infection can cause bone loss and gum tissue damage, making it difficult to keep the implant in place. It can also lead to severe discomfort and gum recession which are signs of implant failure.

If your dental implant becomes infected, you may be wondering if you can still keep it. In most cases, you can still keep the implant if it gets infected, but in some cases, the implant may need to be removed. If addressed early, a dental implant infection can often be successfully managed without removing the implant.

If you have any concerns about tooth implants or if you think you may have an infected dental implant, please get in touch with your dentist immediately.

How Can I Prevent Dental Implant Infection?

If you have a dental implant, it’s important to take steps to prevent infection and other dental implant problems. Here are six infection prevention tips:

  1. Keep your mouth clean. A good oral hygiene routine, which includes brushing and flossing regularly, helps remove bacteria that can cause dental implant infections.
  2. Avoid tobacco products. Smoking and the use of tobacco increase the risk of dental implant infections.
  3. Take antibiotics as prescribed by your dentist or oral surgeon. This will help prevent infection before and after the implant placement procedure.
  4. Follow all of your dentist’s or surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully. This includes instructions on eating soft foods, practising good oral hygiene, and avoiding strenuous activities. Doing so gives your implant a better chance of healing properly, reducing infection risk.
  5. Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse or a warm salt water rinse. Rinsing with an antimicrobial mouth rinse or warm salt water can help kill bacteria and reduce the risk of dental implant infections.
  6. Visit your dentist regularly. Seeing your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings helps them detect any early-onset problems that could lead to an infection. 

These tips can help you prevent dental implant infection and keep your smile healthy and beautiful for many years!

Final Thoughts

Dental implants are the replacement teeth option of choice for a vast majority of dental patients. With the benefits of longevity and stability, implants are a welcome alternative to dentures and bridges as a worthwhile investment. However, because it involves oral surgery and the placement of a foreign body inside the oral cavity, complications may arise. Infection is not a common complication after dental implant procedures, but it can happen.

If you experience any infection after your dental procedure, please book an appointment through our website or call Maylands Dental Centre as soon as possible. We will do everything we can to help you recover quickly and get back to enjoying your new smile!

Frequently Asked questions

The dentist may use local anesthesia to numb the nerves during the surgical procedure for the patient’s maximum comfort. It’s important to remember, however, that each person experiences pain differently. Some patients report minor pain or discomfort, which can last up to a week. These can usually be alleviated with over-the-counter pain medications.

Your dentist can provide more information about the expected level of pain and other possible side effects of getting dental implants.

While all dentists work toward promoting good oral health, not all of them are qualified to provide dental implant treatment. Asking your dentist if they are qualified to provide this dental treatment is one of the ways to have successful implants. In most cases, they will be able to provide you with the information you need and point you in the right direction if they are not qualified to provide dental implant treatment.

Yes, you should be able to eat normally after getting dental implants as long as you allow for adequate healing time. During your recovery period, it is important to follow the advice given by your dentist and avoid hard or chewy foods that may cause damage to the implants.

The dental implant treatment process is a major surgical treatment, and the cost of the procedure reflects that.

Dental implant treatment costs between $4,000 and $6,000 for a single tooth. However, several factors can affect the price, including the type of implant, the dental surgeon’s experience, the location of the dental practice, and the type of dental implants used.

In addition, patients who require multiple dental implants or have other dental work done simultaneously may see a significant increase in their overall bill. Additional procedures, such as bone grafts or sinus lifts, may be required for patients with significant bone loss.

As a result, it is important to consult with a dental professional to get an accurate estimate of the cost of dental implant treatment.

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Maylands Dental Centre
Content published on Maylandsdentalcentre.com.au is intended to be used and must be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any decision based on your own personal circumstances. You should take independent medical advice from a professional or independently research and verify any information that you find on our Website and wish to rely upon.

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