Teeth fall out (or are pulled) for many different reasons. Sometimes, your tooth is knocked out. Other times, it decays to the point of needing to be pulled. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons estimates that 69% of adults (between ages 44) have lost at least one permanent tooth.
No matter the reason, same day dental implants are a common fix. This procedure generally involves removing the tooth root and replacing it with a tooth that screws into a metal base. This can give you the appearance of a natural tooth.
Like all surgical procedures, this one too can become infected. Thankfully, there are some ways to remedy this.
First: How to know if you have an infected implant
The most noticeable symptom of an implant infection (also called peri-implantitis) is pain and swelling. The infection is due to bacteria attacking the bone and gums at the site of the implant. Likely, the pain will be localized and get worse as the bacteria has more time to spread.
Other than pain, bleeding might also occur at the site of the dental implant. Another common set of symptoms, with most bacterial infections, is a foul smell or discharge coming from the mouth. Lastly, if your dental implant is loose, you can assume that you might have an infection especially if it is accompanied by any of the above symptoms.
These are all symptoms that might indicate an infection with your implant. You will only know if you actually have an infection by getting a dentist to confirm it. They will likely examine the mouth for signs of infection as well as x-ray the mouth. If the infection is confirmed, there are a few options for treatment depending on the severity.
How to remedy the infection
The best treatment is prevention. You should follow your dentist’s or oral surgeon’s aftercare instructions closely to prevent an infection from occurring in the first place. This will likely include keeping your oral hygiene in check to make sure that bacteria do not have the chance to colonize or that debris is not stuck anywhere in the mouth.
If your symptoms are mild, you might be able to get away with antibiotic treatment and continued good oral hygiene with antiseptic rinsing. In cases where symptoms grow worse, you might need to have the entire implant removed so that the infection can be properly cured.
There are a lot of factors that are important here including the type of implant, the extent of the infection, if the bone was lost during infection, and other symptoms that occurred during the infection. This is why it is important to consult your dental specialist as soon as possible.
Until you are able to reach the dentist, you might manage your symptoms by alternating icing and warm compress on the area, especially if you are experiencing pain and swelling.
Is this an emergency dentistry problem?
Like a toothache, an implant infection is usually not an emergency. If you know the symptoms beforehand, you will be better able to recognize the early signs.
Generally for dental problems, it is best to seek out a dentist if possible even in an emergency because of expertise and cost. If your infection gets to the point of unbearable pain or uncontrollable fever or bleeding, you might need to head to the ER if a dentist office is not an option. The ER doctors will be able to manage your symptoms, but they will likely not be able to fix the problem.
How to Avoid an Infection after Getting Dental Implants
Dental implants can be an exciting new addition when it comes to mouth health. In some cases they can give you your smile back after you have been without it. It should be a good thing.
However, because dental implants necessarily involve procedures in their placement, there are risks of
complications. Once such a complication is an infection of one or more of the implants. Infections come in degrees and can often be scary. Here is a list of things you might consider to prevent an infection in the first place as well as what to do when you think you do indeed have an infection.
First: How to prevent a dental implant infection
We will give you some tips later in this article if you think you are suffering from an infection, but before that, it is important to stress some preventative measures.
- Follow all of your dentist’s aftercare instructions. This seems very obvious, but you would be surprised to learn how many people we end up helping through an infection who simply missed some of the steps we detailed in aftercare instructions. When undergoing any type of procedure, dental or not, it is paramount to follow the aftercare instructions given by your healthcare professional. These instructions can be anything from dietary changes, cleaning surgical areas, pain relief, and more. We have years of experience with these procedures and know how to get you healed!
- Maintain excellent oral hygiene. Again, it seems obvious. You should always maintain good health habits right? Yes, but we just want to flag that when you are healing a wound of any kind in the mouth, remaining vigilant with your cleaning is so important. Preventing infection means that you should keep up with brushing and flossing. You may also be instructed to use an alcohol free mouthwash to help with rinsing.
- Take your medications. As with any procedure recovery, dental professionals will generally provide you with prescriptions for medications that help you heal as well as instructions for their use. Antibiotics are usually prescribed to prevent any growing infections as you heal. If needed, the dentist will also prescribe medications for pain relief. Your dentist is prescribing these to keep you healthy and comfortable so take them and do so as instructed.
- Food and Hydration. As the first site of digestion, your mouth comes into contact with all of the foods and drinks that you consume. When you have just had a procedure like dental implant placement, your mouth is going to be sore and sensitive in some areas. You should take care to follow your dentist’s instructions when it comes to diet. Most often, you will be asked to eat soft foods that are not too hot to avoid hurting the site. In addition, you should also be eating nutritious food and staying hydrated; without these, the body will have trouble healing and you do not want that!
- Avoid alcohol and smoking. These substances can impair the process of healing. In most cases, your dentist will recommend a period of time post-procedure in which you should avoid smoking and alcohol. Limiting alcohol and smoking is generally good for your dental health too if you were wondering.
- Controlling bleeding and swelling. After dental implant placement, some swelling and bleeding are normal. To control swelling, you might want to use ice packs to gently cool the area. To control bleeding, you can gently bite down on some clean gauze pads. One thing to note about bleeding is that even if you really want to, you should avoid spitting or rinsing too much. This is because healing involves blood naturally clotting and spitting and rinsing too much can interfere with this healing mechanism.
- Limiting physical activity. Usually, exercise is very healthy. During times of healing, however, you might want to take it easy. Too much strenuous exercise can increase blood flow to the point of preventing healing. Your dentist will be able to tell you how long you should take it easy. Once your dental procedure is healed you can get back to the gym or race track!
I think I have a Dental Implant Infection. What should I do?
It can be scary to have an infection, however spotting it early is key to intervention. Most often, infections are accompanied by symptoms such as abnormal swelling, increased pain, new (and bright) redness, and sometimes a foul odor.
No matter why you think that you might have an infection, you should get it checked out. Your dentist office will be able to assess whether or not you have an infection and the steps necessary to remedy it. If you think that it might be a dental emergency, let your dentist know this when you contact them. Many dentist offices will be able to offer emergency services.
Prevention is the best medicine for healing a dental implant! The next best medicine is early detection of problems. So, follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions and know the signs of infection so that you spot them quickly.
Who Treats Dental Implant Infections in Greensboro, NC?
When you follow aftercare instructions, dental implants generally heal well. Even so, infections are a common complication (as with any surgical procedure). Even if you do indeed have an infection, it is usually very treatable.
You are probably wondering: who can treat a dental infection in Greensboro NC? Devaney Dentistry is a great place to start. We have the expertise to treat infections of varying degrees. Devaney Dentistry in Greensboro, NC is a great place for regular checkups, dental implant procedures, and emergency dental services. If you have any worries or want to get started with dental care, call us today!
Follow the Doctor’s orders
Most dental implants are successful. If you are healthy and follow the aftercare instructions provided by your doctor, you should be alright after your surgery. It is smart to know the symptoms of an infection so that you can catch it early. The key is to prevent a dental emergency from occurring by keeping up good hygiene.
At Devaney Dentistry, we have the experience to help you through the dental implant process. Whether you are considering implants, have them already, or are dealing with an infection that seems like a dental emergency, we have the skills and knowledge to provide ultimate compassionate care. Please reach out using the form below and we’ll be able to provide you with a free video consultation.