The dental implant procedure involves replacing a missing tooth and root with artificial ones. The dentist implants a metal screw in the jawbone and places a tooth-like crown on the post. After the procedure, an artificial tooth may perform the same functions like a natural one. However, just as a natural tooth, a dental implant runs the risk of infection.
A dental implant infection may arise because of bacteria accumulation around the implant on the gum line. This may contribute to the development of infection called peri-implantitis. This condition affects your gums and may weaken the fixed implant tooth.
Bad habits like smoking or bad oral hygiene may increase your risk of peri-implantitis significantly. Poor lifestyle and bad habits promote the growth of the bacteria in the mouth and cause infection in the implants. Certain health conditions like diabetes may also increase the risk of implant infection.
How to determine if an implant is infected? Below are 7 main symptoms that may help you determine whether your implant is infected.
1. Gum swelling
Gum swelling may be associated with different dental conditions. People with dental implants need to be extremely careful about this symptom. Gum swelling may indicate that you are at the risk of peri-implantitis. It is normal to experience oral swelling and redness in the first few days after surgery. However, if the gums around the implant are swollen and red long after surgery then an implant infection may be to blame.
It is crucial to treat gum infection as fast as possible. Otherwise, the infection may spread to surrounding soft tissues of the mouth and through the body. This may cause extremely serious health problems.
2. Pus and bleeding
Pus around the teeth and gums is an extremely bad sign. These symptoms may arise because of infection of the soft and hard tissues around the implant. It is crucial to treat this as fast as possible. Otherwise, the infection may penetrate deeper and cause dental implant loosening. While bleeding from the implantation site during brushing is not as extreme as pus, it also requires dental attention.
3. Pain and fever
It is considered normal to feel pain at the surgery site during the first few days after the procedure. This is a sign of the healing process. It may last several days until the wound healing is completed. However, pain in the implantation area that lasts a long period of time is abnormal.
Pain from an implant infection may get worse when you bite. This indicates that your implant is at the risk of failure and infection. In addition to the pain, you may also experience a fever. When your body feels that something is wrong the immune system uses its own defenses to fix the implantation region. If the immune system cannot cope with the problem it will cause fever.
4. Bad breath
Bad breath is another common symptom of dental infection. The infected implant will necessarily produce an unpleasant smell from the mouth. In addition to a bad smell, you may also experience a bad taste in your mouth. Some people may even sense a different taste. This may be caused by the bad quality of the implant materials. For this reason, it is very important to choose a top implant center when considering a dental implant to replace missed teeth.
5. Implant loosening or shifting
If your dental implant is inserted correctly, it won’t feel unnatural or shake back and forth. It is very important to visit your dentist if you feel that the implant becomes loose or shakes. Dental implant loosening may be caused by bone loss in the implantation area or by the implant infection. If left untreated, you run the risk of serious jawbone damage.