Unfortunately, medical and dental procedures don’t come with a 100% guarantee. But dental implants come pretty close, at least when you have them done by a highly-trained specialist and properly care for them. In fact, dental implants have an impressive success rate of over 95%. That, along with the fact that they can last a lifetime with basic maintenance, makes them an outstanding investment in your oral health. However, while implant failure is pretty rare, it still happens occasionally for various reasons, including infections. Keep reading to learn about the symptoms of dental implant infections as well as prevention and treatment. With this information, your implants will have an even higher chance of long-term success!
The Symptoms of Dental Implant Infections
Here are some of the signs that can indicate an infection around a dental implant:
- Ongoing pain or discomfort in the area
- Inflammation around the implant such as red, tender, swollen or bleeding gums
- Pain when chewing
- An implant that feels loose
- Gum recession around an implant
Prevention and Treatment of Dental Implant Infections
To prevent infections and other complications, it’s important to choose a reputable implant dentist or prosthodontist (a specialist in the replacement of missing teeth) to perform your implant surgery. With their extensive training and high-quality materials and techniques, your chances of infection will be lower.
With that said, any surgery, no matter how minor, always carries at least some risk of infection. Here are some ways to reduce that risk in both the short-term and long-term.
- After your implant surgery, closely follow any post-operative instructions from your implant dentist.
- It’s important to keep the area clean with regular brushing, but do so gently and carefully.
- For the first couple of weeks, focus on eating soft foods such as soups, smoothies, oatmeal, bananas, cottage cheese, yogurt, applesauce, mashed potatoes, etc. Avoid hard, crunchy foods during this period.
- Don’t smoke. The success rate in smokers is only 85%, compared to over 95% in non-smokers.
- To prevent problems over the long-term, make sure to get regular checkups and cleanings and keep up with good oral hygiene habits at home. The cleaner the area around your implant is, the healthier it will be.
Fortunately, infections are fairly rare. But be sure to contact your dentist right away if you have any concerns or notice any of the symptoms mentioned above. If they find that you have an infection, they may recommend antibiotics, a prescription-strength mouth rinse, professional cleaning, or surgery. And the earlier problems like infections are found, the more effective treatment will be.
About the Author
Dr. Matthew Nawrocki is an implant dentist and prosthodontist who wants his patients to enjoy their dental implants for a lifetime. Along with using outstanding materials and techniques from the start, he always educates his patients on how to minimize their chance of infections and other potential problems. If you’d like more information about maintaining dental implants or have any other questions, he can be reached via his website.