Dental implants have proven they are one of the best solutions for replacing missing teeth with the lowest comparative failure rate. The dental surgeon takes a thorough medical history to ensure all medical conditions are contemplated before proceeding. Post-op instructions are given to every patient to provide the best possible healing process when these recommendations are followed. Given all that, there is still a possibility that a dental implant can get infected. There are things you can do to cope with the pain associated with as well as treatment for an infected dental implant.
Dental implants are a surgical procedure. As such, there is the increased risk of infection despite proper surgical techniques. In nearly all cases, healing from dental implant surgery is both comfortable and uneventful, although the analogy to healing a broken bone can be made. While you cannot very well put a cast on them, it is important to keep movement of the new teeth to a minimum. Dental implants need at least 16 weeks to completely heal from the surgery to achieve “sigma” of the bone—the process of mineralization and remodeling.
Post-op directions may include:
- No heavy physical activity—at least for the first few days
- Keep surgical site clean
- Avoid certain foods—if so instructed
- Take medications as recommended
Other instructions may be given depending on the individual circumstances, such as no swimming or heavy cardio workouts. However, sometimes patients have themselves convinced they are fast healers when things seem to be going so well. Others may not heed the precaution that dental implants need the same care and attention as original teeth. Still others may have general health issues such as chronic disease that can contribute to dental implant failure.
Signs and Symptoms of Dental Implant Infection
Since there are no nerves attached to implants, there is rarely the typical discomfort associated with a bad tooth. Other symptoms of a problem can be bleeding, bad odor or discomfort of the gum tissue. Inflammation can lead to bone loss, which can create a gum pocket where unhealthy bacteria colonize setting up a cascade of events including the eventual loss of an implant. Your dentist can make a solid diagnosis and prescribe an effective remedy.
What You Can Do to Remedy Infection
Brushing, flossing and regular check-ups with a dentist like A-Dental Center remain the first best defense against infection. You can use a water pick to reach hidden spots that brushing and flossing miss. Using hot salt-water with the water pick provides a natural antimicrobial. The water pick can flush out pockets around the implant, killing the bacteria. There are anti-inflammatory drugs and over-the-counter analgesics for temporary pain relief. You can also use an ice pack to relieve the pain and reduce swelling.
What the Dentist Can Do to Correct Infection Issues?
When these nonsurgical interventions are not helping, you may need to go through further surgery. This treatment process is necessary to clean the surrounding tissue and detoxify the implant. Graft material can be used to help regrow bone around an implant.
Overall, it is best to avoid cutting corners at the planning stage of getting dental implants. If too few implants are placed, or they are too small, short or on too great an angle for the stress, they can fail. The forces on and the type of teeth, bone quality and other factors all contribute to the success of dental implant surgery.
After spending the money and undergoing the surgical procedure, you want to abide by the instructions your dentist provides for a safe and comfortable healing process. If you have difficulties from infection, the sooner you see your dentist, the sooner you can proceed with the best remedy to heal and keep your implants.