Most dental implant operations are successful, and as long as a patient is in good health and cares for their dental implant, a dental implant can last many years. However, occasionally dental implants can suffer from an infection.
Dental implant infections arise for several reasons, which this article will cover.
Poor oral hygiene can cause dental implant infections
Good oral hygiene is imperative to the survival of dental implants post-surgery. Just as good oral hygiene can protect your natural teeth; it can also protect your dental implants too. The biggest enemy of both natural teeth and dental implants is bacteria. Brushing and flossing removes oral bacteria from teeth and implants before infection sets in.
However, if you allow bacteria to multiply around your dental implants because of poor oral hygiene, that bacteria will attack the soft tissues holding your implants in place.
A weakened immune system can lead to dental infection
Your main defense against oral bacteria, aside from oral hygiene, is your immune system. If you have a strong immune system, your body can combat oral bacteria more effectively. This means that you can keep infection at bay by eating foods that strengthen your immune system, such as spinach, garlic, citrus fruits, and ginger.
If your diet consists primarily of junk food and foods low in nutritional value, your immune system won't have the resources to combat bacteria effectively. Your saliva is a potent antibacterial, but if you don't drink enough water or eat healthy foods, its ability to combat bacteria will diminish.
Eat healthy foods that boost your immune system to keep oral infections at bay.
Smoking can cause dental implant infections
Smoking is bad for oral health in general and can increase your chances of suffering oral infections. Because smoking restricts the blood flow to your gum tissue, your ability to fight off oral bacteria is weakened if you smoke regularly. A healthy blood flow contributes to healing. If you smoke while you have dental implants, then you have a higher risk of suffering from implant infections.
Try to cut down or even quit smoking to keep implant infections at bay.
Peri-implantitis is similar to gum disease
Peri-implantitis comes in two forms: peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis. Bacteria can cause both forms of infection. Peri-implant mucositis is an early implant infection where the bacteria attacks the gum tissue surrounding dental implants. This is similar to gum disease. If you can treat your infection at this stage, you can stop the infection early.
However, if you fail to treat peri-implant mucositis early, it may then progress to peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is a more serious form of infection, where the bacteria attacks the bone and gum tissue around a dental implant.
If you think your dental implant is infected, seek dental care immediately. If you stop the infection early, you can save your dental implant.