Dental Implant Infections
Infections of the implantation area is the most common of the dental implant complications. Implant infection is a condition referred as peri-implantitis which is characterized by inflammation or swelling of the tissues surrounding the implantation area. Peri-implantitis is a form of periodontal disease that can lead to inflammation, bone loss and dental implant failure if not treated properly. Causes | Symptoms | Prevention | Treatment
Causes of dental implant infection (peri-implantitis)
Bacteria can infect the jawbone around the implant either directly if they can enter between the implant and bone, or by first infecting the surrounding gum tissues.
Symptoms of infected dental implant
The most common symptom of an infected dental implant is the inflammation and swelling of the surrounding tissues. Dental implant inflammation triggers a response from the body's immune system that attacks the infected gingival and bone cells. This can result to bone loss around the implant and if it continues the implant will become loose and will have to be removed.
Inflammation may be caused by other causes such as improper placement of the implant, but in any case it is advised that you visit your implant dentist with the first sign of swelling.
The formation of a fistula close to the implant followed by pus drainage in the mouth is a clear sign of peri-implantitis which requires immediate treatment.
Prevention of dental implant infections
The following instructions can help to prevent the development of a dental implant infection:
Treatment of dental implant infection
The most important part of peri-implantitis treatment is to find and treat the cause of the dental implant infection. The dentist will normally clean the area and prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection but if the cause of the infection is not treated the problem will appear again after the patient stops the antibiotics.
An inflammation caused by a trauma due to improper crown size or shape, can be treated by removing the abnormal crown restoration. After the inflammation has subsided, a proper crown can be placed on the dental implant to restore the tooth.
If the implant infection was caused due to poor oral hygiene, professional dental cleaning and debridement, antibiotics and careful brushing and flossing are usually enough to treat the condition. But if the cause of dental implant infection is a loose implant (due to poor material or improper placement) that allows bacteria to invade between the fixture and the bone, the only way to stop the infection and prevent further damage to the jawbone is to remove the loose implant.
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