Getting dental implants, much like any other oral surgery procedure, carries a slight risk of complications, and infection is one of the most common.
In most cases, the condition is minor and easily handled with a round of antibiotics. If it is left untreated, however, the implant’s long-term viability can be threatened.
Understand your infection risk, and know the symptoms to watch for after your procedure.
Infection after Dental Implant Surgery
Infection can develop shortly after the procedure, especially if you aren’t diligent about your aftercare.
Placing an implant involves drilling a hole in the jaw for the replacement tooth root. This potentially leaves the area open to germs and bacteria, which can be the precursor for infection. If this does occur, a short course of antibiotics is usually prescribed.
If an infection sets in after the gums have begun to heal, it may be an indicator that the implant post has loosened. If this happens, the oral surgeon will simply tighten the titanium screw and likely prescribe a course of antibiotics.
The bone surrounding the implant also can become infected or fail to heal. This situation is rare, but when it occurs, removing the implant is typically required until the area is healed.
Infection after the Dental Implant Settles In
After several weeks of healing, the implant is ready for the next stage.
A small metal abutment will be attached to the titanium screw, and the crown will be secured in place. It’s unusual, but an infection can develop around the neck of the implant if the microscopic gap between the abutment and crown allows bacteria to enter and hide.
After the dental implant settles and the crown is placed, infection can set in without proper dental hygiene. Implants need the same care as natural teeth. Without proper brushing and flossing, bacteria can build up and cause an infection, just as it would with a regular tooth.
Signs of Dental Implant Infection
How do you recognize an infection?
Continued bleeding after the first 24 hours is often the first sign.At that point in the recovery period, bleeding should have stopped.
It’s common to develop a slight fever after oral surgery, but if yours increases or persists beyond a day, it may be a symptom of infection.
After your dental implant procedure, you will likely have some pain. However, if you have throbbing pain that does not respond to medication, you may have an infection.
The same goes for swelling. Moderate swelling is to be expected, but swelling that increases often indicates a problem.
If you develop an infection, you may see redness in the area around the implant, and you may see discharge. You also could develop an unpleasant taste in your mouth or bad breath.
Infection requires treatment to ensure optimal oral health. If you suspect a problem, please call our office as soon as possible.
For all of your specialized oral health and surgical needs, call on us at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah. Serving the greater Salt Lake City area, we are Northern Utah’s premier specialists in oral and maxillofacial surgery as well as dental implants.