Is It Possible to Save an Infected Dental Implant?
Unfortunately, dental implants can become infected, often by a condition called peri-implantitis (Read more: Dental Implant Complications). Peri-implantitis is an inflammation very similar to periodontal disease and it affects the gum tissues surrounding a dental implant. Symptoms of infection include gums that easily bleed when gently probed, and increased pocket depth in between the gum and the implant. Other signs include swollen gums and there may be a nasty discharge. The problem with this condition is it can affect the bone surrounding the infected dental implant and if you are at all concerned about the condition of any of your implants then it’s worth booking a checkup as soon as you can with Dr. Navid Rahmani here at Contemporary Periodontics & Implant Surgery.
Diagnosing an Infected Dental Implant
One of the first things Dr. Rahmani is likely to want to do, is to take a dental x-ray of the infected dental implant. He may also gently probe around the implant to assess the degree of the infection and inflammation. By carefully probing the area, he can hopefully make an early diagnosis of any signs of infection. Early detection is absolutely essential if the implant is to be saved. One of the problems with this condition is that it often doesn’t create any pain and as a result patients are frequently unaware that an implant is infected. Dr. Rahmani will also try to assess if the inflammation could be caused by another problem such as cementitis, where a foreign body has caused infection. During the first year after implant surgery, symptoms may also be due to the bone remodeling, so it is important for Dr Rahmani to rule out other causes of infection and inflammation (Read more: Dental Implant Surgery Aftercare).
Treating Any Signs of Dental Implant Infection
If an infection is diagnosed, then one of the most important aspects of the treatment will be to clean the surface of the infected dental implant. This may be tricky depending on the type of implant that has been used as implants with rough surfaces cannot be thoroughly cleaned mechanically. The next step will be to disinfect the area. For a moderate infection, Dr Rahmani may recommend the use of antibiotics. This is where the loss of bone around the dental implant will be between 2 mm and 4 mm. For more advanced implant infections where the bone loss is more severe, surgical intervention may be required, combined with mechanically cleaning the implant, disinfection and the use of antibiotics.
Can an Infected Dental Implant Be Saved?
The earlier an infection is treated, the better the chances of success. If a dental implant has already become loose due to a severe infection and subsequent bone loss, it may not be possible to save it. In this case the infected dental implant might need to be removed and the area left to heal. It might be possible to place another dental implant at a later stage, once it’s clear all the infection has been removed.
If you do have dental implants, it’s so important to make sure you keep up with a regime of regular dental checkups every six months. This allows your dentist to check your dental implants for any signs of early inflammation and infection so that prompt action can be taken if anything is found.