Dental Implant Is Infected: What is Treatment?


Christine asks:

About a year and a half ago I had an implant done on my front tooth and never had any problems with it. It doesn't hurt and its not loose, but now it is infected somewhere and they gave me antibiotics. What treatment comes next? Is the implant failing? Will it have to be removed?

Answered by: Dr. Ken Ross

Lighthouse Point, FL

Hi Christine,

The next step in treatment is possibly a bone graft to add bone to the area where the infection took bone away (a procedure called Guided Bone Regeneration). Get a 2nd opinion from a periodontist or oral surgeon who can more definitively diagnose what the problems is and give you a treatment plan. It may be failing but it also may be able to be salvaged at this point. This is sometimes difficult to do.

A front tooth is nothing to mess around with. You should definitively treat it as soon as possible to give you the best chance to potentially salvage the implant. The end point for a failing implant is indeed mobility or movement. Once it is moving it must be taken out.

There are other parts involved thought that may ultimately be moving: the abutment or the crown upon the implant. Front teeth are tricky though because even if the implant is not mobile, bone loss can result in gum loss leaving an esthetic nightmare.

Get a 2nd opinion and treat aggressively and definitively as possible. Rarely will antibiotic treatment solve the problem. You also need to be certain an adjacent tooth is not the culprit!

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Expert Advice and Comments
carla's picture

implant failure/removal

Dear Dr. Ross,

I am serious pain at the site of an implant that was placed 4 years ago. Since it was placed, I have been in a collision and fallen down my stairs landing on my face exactly where the implant is located.

The problem is, no x-ray or ct scan show any sign to the dentists and peridontists I have been to (now on my 5th).

Today, I allowed the 5th dentist to redo an old root canal on tooth #2 because he really thought it was the culprit of my pain to tooth #3. Several hours later now, I am in the same pain, except a little worse right now.

The ONLY time I am not in pain is when I am anestitised in that area of my mouth. It is like heaven for a few hours.

I am in horrible pain any time I eat anything on that specific tooth. If I press on that tooth with my finger, it hurts.

I have been on antibiotics 4 or 5 times in the last few months. Each time, the pounding pain subsides but the actual problem of biting without pain never disappears.

I really, really want the implant OUT, but no one will touch it because they cannot see anything wrong.
Please, please help me.
Thank You for any help, suggestions, advice.
I live in South Florida.

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