The Importance of Regular Checkups in Preventing A Dental Implant Infection

dental implant infection

Dental implant infection is one of the major potential complications associated with failed dental implants. If left untreated, these infections may have sinister consequences, the most extreme of which is implant failure.

However, the good news is that implant infections are a relatively rare occurrence. Luckily, most people have a very smooth and successful post-operative experience, with regular dental checkups playing an integral role in making their experience successful. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the critical role regular dental checkups play in preventing impant infections, so implant recipients may ensure the success and longevity of their new smile.

What Is Dental Implant Infection?

Dental implant infection refers to inflammatory conditions that affect the soft and hard tissues around dental implants. These infections are mainly of two types:

  • Peri-implant mucositis – a relatively less serious implant infection affecting only the soft (gum) tissue around implants, with no sign of bone loss. Its symptoms may include redness, swelling, pain and bleeding around the implant site.
  • Peri-implantitis – a serious type of implant infection that involves inflammation of both the soft (gum) tissue and hard (bone) tissue. Hence, it leads to bone loss. Its symptoms include pain, swelling, bleeding, puss formation, gum recession, and bleeding around implants.

Regardless of the type of implant infection you might develop, the etiology (causes) behind the infections are more or less the same. These include factors such as smoking, poor oral hygiene, medical conditions (such as diabetes), trauma to the implants, and the presence of residual dental cement from the prosthesis placement.

Can Routine Dental Checkups Prevent Dental Implant Infection?

Can dental implants get infected? How to treat infection a dental implant infection? These are two commonly asked questions by implant recipients. However, they should be rather asking if implant infections are preventable, as being proactive about your dental health is better than fearing its decline.

Luckily, the answer to the latter question is yes – implant infections are easily preventable. In fact, in most cases, following the most basic post-surgical instructions after your teeth replacement (like following proper oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly) is sufficient to prevent infections. 

At times patients develop moderate cases of peri-implant mucositis, but they either ignore the symptoms (assuming them to be temporary or inconsequential) or the symptoms aren’t visible enough for patients to easily detect. This may lead to the worsening of the infection and, ultimately, its advancement to peri-implantitis, which would pose serious consequences to implant health. 

However, the above situation can be avoided if patients visit their dentist for routine checkups. During regular checkups, dentists closely examine your implants for any symptoms of infection. Hence, even the minor symptoms that are bypassed by patients are easily detected in routine dental checkups. This posits regular dental visits as significantly helpful for the prevention of implant infections.

How Regular Dental Checkups Help Prevent Dental Implant Infection

Regular dental checkups are necessary for everybody’s oral health maintenance, but they are all the more important for implant recipients as they play an indispensable role in the prevention and early detection of implant-related infections. Here’s how regular dental checkups help prevent implant infections:

Early Detection

As we’ve just discussed, regular dental checkups are very effective in the early detection of a dental implant infection. Usually, in the initial stages of infections, the symptoms are covert and can only be detected by a thorough evaluation done by the dentist. Your dentist will closely check your gums and jawbone for any symptoms consistent with those of implant infection and make an early diagnosis, which will further aid in the timely intervention and treatment of the infection.

Professional Cleanings

One major cause of dental implant infection is plaque and bacterial buildup around implants. Unfortunately, even with diligent oral hygiene practices, some patients still struggle with plaque and tartar accumulation around implants. Regular dental checkups help in such cases, as they include professional dental cleanings, where plaque and tartar are scraped off of implants and surrounding areas by using specialised tools. These cleanings restore optimum oral health in patients predisposed to excessive plaque buildup, reducing their risk of developing implant infections.

Monitoring Oral Hygiene Practices

While some people struggle with plaque accumulation despite following proper oral hygiene (as discussed above), some don’t follow adequate oral hygiene practices to begin with. This obviously leads to compromised oral hygiene and puts them at a greater risk of developing implant infections. However, during regular dental checkups, dentists point out the shortcomings in such patient’s oral care habits and educate them on oral hygiene techniques specific to implant dentures. This guidance is crucial for patients as it helps them establish their first line of defence against implant infections.

Analysing Implant Stability 

Dentists thoroughly analyse implant position during checkups, ensuring that the implants are as stable as they should be. They also check for signs of implant mobility, which usually indicates an underlying issue such as bone loss or implant infection. This monitoring of the implant’s stability helps dentists take proactive measures to address any underlying infection triggers before they worsen.

Evaluating Overall Oral Health

Regular dental visits are not meant for implant specific checkups only – dentists also evaluate your overall oral health in these visits. They specifically check for conditions such as cavities and gum disease (which may contribute to bacterial invasion around implants and trigger implant infections). By detecting these conditions on time and taking appropriate measures for their treatment, your dentist helps create a healthy environment for your implants, ensuring their longevity and success.

Implementing Preventive Measures 

Based on the assessment of your oral health performed during regular checkups, your dentist may take preventive measures to safeguard you from an unanticipated dental implant infection. For instance, if your dentist notices signs of bacterial invasion near implants, they may prescribe antimicrobial treatment to treat it before it causes an infection. Similarly, if the dentist ascertains that the patient’s diabetes has been flaring up recently, then they may recommend adjustments in the patient’s diet and lifestyle to keep the diabetes in control. 

Conclusion 

The information obtained through the detailed evaluation of implants (and surrounding oral structures) during regular dental checkups aids in the prevention and early detection of 

implant infections. This helps preserve dental implant health in the long term.

For more details regarding the best practices to ensure implant success, book a FREE consultation with Austin Implant Clinic, a premium dental practice located in Austin, Texas. Our team of expert implant surgeons will provide you with valuable insights into this subject, helping you preserve your smile’s beauty and functionality for years to come.


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