Dental implant placement is a term often used to describe the entire process of installing an implant-supported tooth. The process varies, depending on a patient’s unique set of circumstances. This means that recovery periods also differ from one person to the next. A number of various factors may influence the time that a person takes…
When an Infection May Cause Dental Implant Failure
Concerned about dental implant failure? Read on to learn more about this condition. Dental implants restore people's ability to bite, eat, and smile by providing support for crowns, bridges, and dentures, which replace lost teeth. After getting dental implants, maintaining good oral hygiene is essential to present oral health issues like infection. Patients are at risk of dental implant failure if they develop gum disease or inflammation.
An overview of dental implant failure
The inflammation of the gums surrounding the implant is often an indication of implant infection. The types of infection include:
- Peri-implantitis mucositis: This is when the soft tissues surrounding the implant are infected but without a case of bone loss. The infection is less serious and generally due to inadequate oral hygiene, where plaque biofilm may build up between an implant and its prosthetic crown
- Peri-implantitis: This is an inflammation of the soft and hard tissues around dental implants that affects a considerable portion of the implant's supporting bone structure. Untreated peri-implant mucositis is often the cause of this condition
Infection jeopardizes a dental implant's success
Dental implant failure is imminent if patients develop an infection after the procedure. If an infection is present, the healing process may be slow and poor and the implant may not integrate properly with bone tissues. Gum disease and extensive tooth decay can occur months or years after the implant placement procedure and jeopardize the dental implant.
Peri-implantitis often starts from the gums and spreads. Dental implants are supported by hard tissue, which means they will be compromised if an infection in the gums travels to the bone. The implants may feel loose or become less stable than normal. Jawbone damage and serious health problems are also possible outcomes of this condition.
Preliminary signs and symptoms of peri-implantitis
Peri-implantitis has many symptoms in common with gum disease, including bleeding gums, bad breath, gum discoloration, gum inflammation, and swelling. As the infection worsens, it causes bone loss and loosening of dental implants and implant-supported appliances. Peri-implantitis is more common in those who have suffered tooth loss due to severe gum disease (periodontitis).
Preventing infection during recovery
Patients need to follow post-op instructions meticulously to avoid developing peri-implantitis. Maintaining good oral health and dental care requires paying attention to the details. The risk of infection might increase from smoking or using tobacco products, so avoid these habits and stay consistent with your dental appointments.
Treating infection after getting dental implants
Even after the jawbone has completely recovered and the implants have merged with the oral tissues, the risk of infection must be handled carefully. Advanced gum disease that has progressed over time might lead to implant failure eventually. Treating gum infection promptly is important to stop the inflammation from damaging the bone tissue and dental implants.
In most cases, the infection should be controlled first. Antiseptics and antibiotics are often recommended for treatment. When soft tissue is lost or damaged, it may be restored using grafting techniques. The goal of the procedure is to rebuild the gum line using donor tissues or artificial grafts. Bone grafting techniques may be recommended in the event of bone loss to address implant stability and potential viability difficulties.
Preventing dental implant failure
Even a basic procedure like tooth extraction can carry the risk of infection. Fortunately, there are a few quick and long-term solutions to this problem, including:
- Be sure to strictly follow the implant dentist's post-operative recommendations after the procedure
- Regular brushing is essential, but do it carefully and delicately to avoid bruising sensitive oral tissues
- Stick to soft foods like soups, smoothies, oatmeal, bananas, cottage, or yogurt throughout the first few weeks after the procedure. Patients need to avoid hard and crunchy foods
- Smoking is bad for oral health, and the success rate of dental implants is significantly lower for those who smoke
- Long-term dental health demands regular dental exams and cleanings and practicing proper oral hygiene at home. The dental implant will be healthy if the surrounding tissues are healthy
The bottom line
Fortunately, dental implant failure is rare. Contact your periodontist immediately if you experience any of the abovementioned symptoms of infection or have any other concerns. If an infection is present, you may be prescribed antibiotics, a prescription mouthwash, a professional cleaning, or even surgery. Moreover, the earlier in the process the issue is diagnosed, the better the chances of successful treatment.
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