What is a Dental Implant Gum Infection?

Peri-implantitis, or dental implant infection, is an inflammation similar to gum disease. It affects the gum tissues and supporting bone surrounding a dental implant.

Symptoms and warning signs of infection include:

  • Red or swollen gums at the site of the implant
  • Loose implants
  • Pus emanating from the area of the implant
  • Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • Dull ache or throbbing pain
  • Fever
  • Visible threads
  • Bleeding when brushing around the implant

The first step in peri-implantitis usually occurs when there’s inflammation in the gums, which then results in bone loss and the teeth (or tooth) becoming infected.

Advanced peri-implantitis presents with severe symptoms, but at first, you may hardly notice any. Look for bleeding, tender, and red gums around the implant. In some cases, you may not notice the tenderness or bleeding unless you apply pressure to the gums, such as from flossing or brushing

What Causes a Dental Implant Gum Infection?

Dental implant gum infections can be caused by a variety of things, including poor dental hygiene, tobacco use, dehydration, high sugar intake, and irregular professional dental cleanings.

Ideally, those with a dental implant should be brushing their teeth and flossing twice per day, as well as scheduling twice annual professional dental cleanings. Unfortunately, a lack of dental hygiene is the most common reason for a

gum infection.

To diagnose peri-implantitis, your dentist will typically first perform a dental X-ray of the affected implant. They may assess the extent of the infection and inflammation by probing the surrounding tissues, which can help detect any sign of infection quickly. Early diagnosis is essential to increasing the chances of saving the implant.

What is the Treatment for an Infected Dental Implant?

Treatment for an infected dental implant might include a combination of different options, depending on the level and severity of infection.

A variety of treatments are available, including antibiotics, surgery, laser therapy with surface decontamination, mechanical debridement, and antimicrobial therapies.

Unfortunately, the infection will not go away on its own and could cause serious oral damage if left untreated – which is why, if you think your implant is infected, you should call your dentist immediately.

How Can I Prevent a Dental Implant Gum Infection?

The best way to prevent peri-implantitis is to take care of your oral hygiene. Brush and floss twice per day, and schedule regular (twice yearly) professional dental cleanings with your dentist. It’s also recommended to:

  • Rinse with salt water regularly
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid food that is high in sugar content

Here at Poway Perio, we are happy to help you with a dental implant gum infection and get your teeth and gums back to good health. If you have more questions or would like to book a consultation, we’re happy to discuss your situation. Just give us a call at (858) 679-0142.