Autoimmune Disease Management 101: Fighting Back

Common Dental Implant Issues & What to Do When You Experience Them

Dental implants, by far, are the best solution for replacing missing teeth. They are also a permanent solution. You never need to remove them to clean them, and you never have to worry about breaking them. They can be brushed right along with your natural teeth, flossed like natural teeth, and they never, ever rot or get cavities.

However, many adults still experience dental implant problems. It is not common, but it can be quite frustrating. If you get dental implants for one or more missing teeth, and you experience some issues, the following information reflects some of the more common issues and what you can do about it.

Inflamed Gum Tissue

This happens a lot, especially after the implant procedure. Your dentist should have recommended swishing with warm salt water, which helps reduce the inflammation and flush out the gum tissue. When you flush the gums around the implants, you are helping to remove bacteria that could develop into an infection, too. Try the warm salt water rinse for a day or two. If that does not help, call your dentist to make an appointment. 

The Gum Tissue Is Pulling Away from the Implant

Sometimes the gum tissue does not heal the way it is expected. It may pull away from the abutment screw in your jaw. It may either be an allergic reaction to the titanium screw (which is exceedingly rare, but not impossible), or your gum tissue just receded on its own. The result is that your gum has revealed part of the screw, making it obvious that you have a fake tooth in your mouth.

If people close to you can see this when you talk, laugh or smile, or you are particularly self-conscious about it, then your dentist may be able to fix it. If it is an allergic reaction to titanium, then your dentist will have to remove the implant, and try a dental screw of a different material. Surgical steel or super-hard plastic are a couple of the replacement options.

Infection in the Gum Tissue Surrounding the Implant

A mild infection is treated from home by using an oral antiseptic mouthwash and good oral hygiene. If your gums around the implants start to swell, you experience intense pain, and/or you have a high fever, then see a dentist right away. The dentist will have to try to extract any accumulated pus surrounding the implant and then flush the area with a medicated oral rinse.

An injectable antibiotic may be administered in the dentist's office. This medication is injected directly into the gum tissue at or close to the infection site. Your dentist may also prescribe an oral rinse or oral antibiotics to combat the infection.

The Implant Appears to Be Shifting

During the healing process, the bone cells in your jaw are growing up and around the abutment screw. The cells harden into new bone, and then the abutment screw becomes cemented naturally into your jaw. However, some people may notice that the implant appears to shift out of place with the rest of their teeth. This could be the result of bone cells not developing fast enough, your body's attempt to reject the implant, and/or an infection or bone disorder.

Your dentist can fix this by having you wear some orthodontic appliances until the bone cells have officially secured the implant. The appliances will push the implant back into alignment with the rest of your teeth. After a few weeks (or however long your dentist determines that you need to do this), the appliances are removed and the implant should be fine.

If you experience these or other issues, services such as Oral Surgery Specialists of Austin can help.