Can Dental Implants Get Infected? – What You Should Know

Implants offer a durable and natural-looking solution for replacing missing teeth. This innovative treatment has gained popularity among patients seeking a long-term solution that restores both function and aesthetics to their smile. However, along with their numerous benefits, dental implants also come with potential doubts and risks, one of the most significant being, “Can dental implants get infected?” Understanding the possibility of infection is crucial for anyone considering or currently undergoing implant surgery. Let’s explore the causes, symptoms, and preventive measures associated with implant infections to help you make informed decisions about your dental health.

Understanding Dental Implants

Dental implants are sophisticated prosthetic devices used to replace missing teeth. They are typically made of biocompatible materials such as titanium, which integrate with the jawbone through a process called osseointegration. This integration provides a stable base for artificial teeth, such as crowns, bridges, or dentures, to be securely mounted.

Unlike traditional dentures or bridges that sit on top of the gums or adjacent teeth, implants mimic the natural tooth structure by being anchored directly into the jawbone. This not only provides a more natural feel and appearance but also helps prevent bone loss over time.

How Do Implants Differ from Natural Teeth?

Natural teeth comprise enamel, dentin, and pulp, with roots embedded in the jawbone. Dental implants, on the other hand, consist of a titanium implant (replacing the tooth root), an abutment (connecting the implant to the artificial tooth), and a prosthetic crown, bridge, or denture. They are used to replace your actual missing teeth. 

Can Dental Implants Get Infected?

Yes, dental implants can indeed get infected. While the implant itself cannot decay, the surrounding gum tissue is susceptible to inflammation if proper care is neglected. 

Infections around dental implants are typically referred to as peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is characterized by inflammation of the tissues surrounding the implant, which can progress to infection if not properly treated.

Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings are crucial to maintain healthy gums and ensure the longevity of the implant.

Top 8 Causes of Dental Implant Infection

Poor Oral Hygiene

Inadequate brushing and flossing around the implant can lead to plaque and bacteria buildup, increasing the risk of infection.


This is a condition similar to periodontitis but specifically affects the tissues surrounding dental implants. It causes inflammation and, if untreated, can lead to infection and implant failure.


Tobacco use compromises the body’s immune response and reduces blood flow to the gums, making it harder for the body to fight infections around dental implants.

Medical Conditions

Certain systemic conditions, such as diabetes or autoimmune disorders, can impair the body’s ability to heal and fight infections, increasing the susceptibility to implant infections.

Poor Surgical Technique or Implant Placement

Improper placement of the implant or surgical technique that damages surrounding tissues can create an environment conducive to infection. A poorly fitted implant can leave gaps where food debris can accumulate, which can contribute to infection.

Pre-existing Periodontal Disease

If a patient had gum disease before getting implants, they may be more susceptible to peri-implantitis. Periodontal disease can compromise the health of the surrounding tissues and bone, affecting the long-term success of dental implants.

Inadequate Bone Quality or Quantity

Insufficient bone density or poor bone quality at the implant site can affect the implant’s stability and increase the risk of complications, including infection.

Lifestyle Factors

Factors such as stress, poor nutrition, and overall health habits can also impact the body’s ability to maintain oral health and prevent infections around dental implants.

Signs & Symptoms of Implant Infection

Early Warning Signs & Symptoms

Gum Inflammation:

Swelling, redness, or tenderness around the implant site.


 Bleeding gums when brushing or touching the area around the implant.

Pain or Discomfort:

 Persistent or increasing pain at the implant site or when chewing.

Pus or Discharge:

Pus or other discharge around the implant, indicating infection.

Loosening of the Implant:

Feeling of mobility or looseness of the implant.

Gum Recession:

Receding gums around the implant, exposing more of the implant structure.

Bad Taste or Odor:

Foul taste or odor emanating from the implant site.

Advanced Signs & Symptoms

Severe Pain:

Intense and persistent pain around the implant site, often not relieved by over-the-counter pain medications.

Increased Mobility:

Noticeable looseness or mobility of the implant, indicating significant bone loss and potential implant failure.

Pus or Abscess Formation:

Visible discharge of pus from the gums around the implant or abscess formation, which may be accompanied by swelling and tenderness.

Deep Gum Pockets:

Increased depth of gum pockets around the implant, typically measured during dental examinations.

Bone Loss:

Evidence of bone loss around the implant site, visible on X-rays.

Gum Recession:

Progressive recession of the gums around the implant, exposing more of the implant structure.

Severe Pain:

Intense and persistent pain around the implant site, often not relieved by over-the-counter pain medications.

Bad Breath:

Persistent bad breath or foul taste in the mouth, often due to infection and bacteria around the implant.

Systemic Symptoms:

In some cases, systemic symptoms such as fever, malaise, or swollen lymph nodes may accompany advanced implant infections, indicating a more severe infection.

How Can You Prevent a Dental Implant Infection?

Maintain Excellent Oral Hygiene

Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a non-abrasive toothpaste. Ensure you brush around the implant site gently to avoid damage. Flossing also helps remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth and around the implant area.

Follow Post-Surgical Instructions

Adhere to your dentist’s post-surgical care instructions, which may include dietary restrictions and guidelines for oral care immediately following the implant procedure.

Attend Regular Dental Check-ups

Schedule regular check-ups with your dentist or periodontist. These visits allow for professional cleaning and assessment of the implant’s health, ensuring early detection and treatment of any issues.

Quit Smoking

If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do to reduce the risk of implant infection. Smoking impairs the immune response and blood flow to the gums.

Be Mindful of Your Diet

A balanced diet supports overall health, including oral health. Avoid sticky, hard, or sugary foods that can promote plaque buildup or damage to the implant. Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to support overall health and immune function.

Protect the Implant Site

Be cautious with activities that could damage the implant, such as sports or habits that might cause injury to the mouth.

Manage Systemic Health Conditions

If you have diabetes, autoimmune disorders, or other systemic conditions, work closely with your healthcare provider to manage your condition effectively.

Choose a Skilled Implant Dentist

Select an experienced and qualified dentist or periodontist for your implant placement procedure. Proper implant placement and surgical technique are crucial for minimizing complications and promoting successful integration.

Monitor Changes Around Implants

Be vigilant about any changes or symptoms around your implants, such as swelling, pain, bleeding, or unusual discharge. Early detection allows for timely intervention and better treatment outcomes.


While dental implants offer a durable and aesthetically pleasing solution for replacing missing teeth, they are not immune to the risk of infection. Understanding the potential for implant infections, known as peri-implantitis, is crucial for anyone considering or currently undergoing implant treatment. 

Early detection of signs and symptoms, along with prompt professional intervention, plays a vital role in managing and treating implant infections effectively. Remember, your dentist or periodontist is your partner in maintaining the health and longevity of your dental implants, so stay proactive and informed about your oral health journey.

Contact Smile Boutique to learn more. Schedule a consultation today!


Dental implant infections, known as peri-implantitis, can occur in a minority of cases but are a recognized complication that warrants attention. Generally, the risk of infection is higher in individuals with poor oral hygiene, smokers, and those with pre-existing periodontal disease.

Yes, dental implants can often be saved after they become infected, depending on the severity of the infection and the extent of tissue and bone involvement. The treatment approach typically involves professional cleaning to remove bacteria and plaque buildup around the implant. 

Antibiotics may be prescribed to manage infection. In more advanced cases, surgical intervention such as flap surgery or bone grafting may be necessary to address extensive bone loss and promote healing.

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