How can I treat a dental implant infection at home? I have an implant and crown on my upper right premolar that my dentist in PA placed in 1998. I moved to Virginia in 2010 and am on my second dentist here. My dentists offered to replace the loose implant with a dental bridge, but I refused. I am becoming anxious about needing the implant removed. It was challenging to get through the implant process, and now the thought of starting over is scary. Can I do something at home to treat the infection? Are specific antibiotics better for a dental implant infection? – Thank you. Byron from SD
Thank you for your question. One of our dentists would need to examine your implant and gums, but we will explain how to treat a dental implant infection.
Can You Treat a Dental Implant Infection at Home?
You cannot treat a dental implant infection at home without the supervision of an implant dentist. An implant dentist must examine your implant, surrounding gum tissue, and bone. You will need an x-ray to determine whether the infection damaged your bone. Although the dentist may prescribe an antibiotic, you will still require professional care for a dental implant infection.
What Is the Treatment for a Dental Implant Infection?
The treatment for a dental implant infection depends on the cause and extent of the condition and inflammation. After taking an x-ray and gently probing around the implant, your implant dentist will determine how to treat the infection. If the infection and bone loss are in the beginning stages, a skilled implant dentist may be able to save the implant.
Treatment may include:
- Clean the gum tissue surrounding the implant
- Cleaning the dental implant surface
- Disinfecting the implant
- Replacing lost bone with a graft
- Implant removal
What Is Peri-implantitis?
Peri-implantitis is an infection in the gum tissue and bone surrounding a dental implant. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, the causes of peri-implantitis are the same as gum disease around natural teeth.
What Causes a Dental Implant Infection?
Three causes of a dental implant infection include:
- Poor oral hygiene – Failure to keep your mouth, gums, and the area around your dental implants clean can allow bacteria to grow around the implants and promote infection.
- Overall health concerns – Uncontrolled inflammatory health conditions, including diabetes, can impact your body’s ability to fight infection.
- Parafunctional habits – Nail biting, finger sucking, teeth grinding, and tongue thrusting are oral habits that can disturb dental implants or irritate the gum tissue around them.
- Smoking – Even after your jawbone and implants heal, smoking restricts blood flow and increases infection risks.
If you have loose dental implants or an infection around them, rather than try to resolve it yourself, schedule an exam with a skilled implant dentist. Look for a dentist with post-graduate implant training. During the appointment, explain your anxiety and ask the dentist about sedation options to help you relax throughout treatment.
Monroe, Louisiana, accredited cosmetic dentist Dr. David Finley sponsors this post.