Dental implants do all the things that natural teeth do. This is why there is no better way to replace teeth than with dental implants. Unfortunately, dental implants are not immune to infection. And when infection strikes, you need to be able to spot the early warning signs before the infection worsens.
Dental implant infections can worsen and cause dental implant failure if left untreated. Look for the following early infection signs if you suspect your dental implant might be infected.
1. Red and swollen gums around the implant
Just like early gum disease, one of the earliest signs of dental implant infection is red and swollen gums. This is usually the first sign that something is wrong. An improvement in your oral hygiene practice and a reduction in sugary foods should help to stop the infection at this point.
2. Foul taste in the mouth
Certain species of bacteria give off a foul odor, and this will result in a foul taste in your mouth, especially in the area of the dental implant. This is usually a result of oral bacteria spreading from the infected implant.
3. Bad breath
The foul odor and taste won't simply remain in your mouth, however. You'll begin to notice that your breath also has a foul odor, and other people may begin to notice this when they interact with you. Oral bacteria produce a sulfur-like smell, which will be difficult to hide from others.
4. Blood and pus
The next early warning sign will be the appearance of blood and pus around the infected dental implant. This will become especially evident when you brush your teeth. The presence of blood and pus usually means that the invading oral bacteria have infiltrated the gum tissue around the dental implant. This is important because if left without treatment, the pus will begin to destroy the surrounding tissues.
5. Minor pain when chewing
If you feel pain while chewing food, then the infection has begun to worsen. At this point, the infection is under the gum tissue and will soon begin to damage the bone and gum tissue around the dental implant. You can still treat your dental implant at this stage and prevent peri-implantitis.
Infections don't have to result in the loss of a dental implant. With the right treatment at the right time, dental implant infections will go away. But remember, the longer you wait, the more likely the infection will worsen and cause dental implant failure.
For more information about dental implant treatments, contact a dentist near you.