A dental implant is one of the safest medical procedures out there, at least for the most part. Sometimes, there is a very small probability of post-surgery complications, let´s talk a little about that today, and what you can do treat it or better yet, prevent it.
In broad terms, implant related diseases can be categorized in two groups, a) peri-implant mucositis and b) peri-implantitis; the former usually being a precursor of the later. The first symptoms in both cases are pretty much indistinguishable from regular gum disease, so you can expect inflammation and red and tender gums as well as bleeding when floosing, brushing or exerting pressure near the dental implant.
The big difference between peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantatitis is the significant bone loss that comes with the latter, which is precisely the reason why you should make an appointment as soon as you notice the first symptoms, dental implant derived mucositis is treatable and easily cured, while the peri-implantitis, if left unchecked could require another process called bone grafting to repair the damage.
But what causes post-implant diseases?, one of the most common reasons is cement residue left behind by the dentist when the implant was placed, which promotes bacterial growth or causes unnecessary pressure against the bone or gum, this is troublesome as the cement rarely shows on x-rays, so the dentist might need to take off the denture to look for possible residues. The other common reason is bad hygiene; remember that dentures are pretty much like teeth, if you don´t take good care of them by flossing and brushing after every meal food residue may sediment promoting bacterial growth and infections.
Fortunately, post-implant diseases can be avoided with ease, keep good cleaning habits by flossing and brushing at least three times a day, most dentists recommend buying an electric toothbrush and keeping a spare with you at all times, so you can brush anywhere, even if you don’t have toothpaste with you. On the other hand, if you just had an implant placed; try to schedule a check-up every 3 months for the first year, that way the dentist may detect an early on-set of mucositis and treat it right away. Finally, if you notice swelling, traces of blood after brushing, or feel any sort of discomfort, contact your health professional immediately, early treatment will lead to a quick recovery and a better outcome for you and your new set of teeth.