Dental implants, like any dental procedure, have risks. Having an awareness of these risks and knowing the warning signs can allow you to get the care you need as early as possible when you need it. One of these risks is infection, or peri-implantitis. Infection remains one of the greatest risks of any dental surgery, including dental implants.
A patient’s implant is placed in the jawbone during a surgical procedure. Because the dental implant is designed to be as secure as your natural tooth root, it is anchored deeply through the gum tissue and within the jawbone.
Allowing the dental implant anchor and the jawbone to fuse together can take from two to six months. After this time, your dentist will attach an abutment for the crown (or will attach the crown itself) to the anchor. Because this requires that the gums surrounding the anchor be cut again, care must be taken to prevent infection.
As with any oral surgery, considerable discomfort and swelling can follow the procedure. Minor bleeding, pain and bruising and swelling of the gums, face and jaw may also be present, but these are not always a sign of infection. Keep your dental surgeon informed about all of your symptoms so that you may receive the best advice and treatment following your particular procedure. Do not wait if you feel there is a problem. Severe infection can lead to damage to the jawbone, resulting in bone loss.
Your surgeon might prescribe antibiotics following your surgery. You must take the entire course of antibiotics in order to receive their full benefits and to help prevent infection after your dental implant surgery.
Because the implant is in your mouth, it is exposed to everything you eat or drink. Having good dental hygiene is the best first step toward preventing an infection. Treat your implant the way you would your natural tooth, and continue to brush, floss, and have regular dental check-ups. Non-smokers, patients with good eating habits, and those with proper oral hygiene habits are in the best position for a fast and complete recovery.