Can Implants Get Infected?

Medically Reviewed By
Jonathan G. Campbell, DDS, FAGD
One of the top rated Dentist in Salt Lake City, UT

Dental implants are a highly effective and durable solution for replacing missing teeth. However, like natural teeth, they can be susceptible to infections under certain conditions. Implant infections, while relatively rare, can occur and require prompt attention to ensure the longevity of your dental restoration and overall oral health.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are known for their durability, strength, and natural appearance. They provide a stable foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. Implants help preserve jawbone structure, prevent neighboring teeth from shifting, and restore the ability to chew and speak effectively. Due to their biocompatible material (titanium), implants fuse with the jawbone through a process called osseointegration, ensuring stability and longevity.

Symptoms of Implant Infections

Identifying the signs of an infected dental implant is crucial for timely intervention. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain or discomfort: around the implant site or when biting down.
  • Swelling or inflammation: in the gums or around the implant.
  • Loose implant: a feeling that the implant is not secure.
  • Fever: in severe cases, is accompanied by systemic symptoms.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it's essential to contact your dentist promptly.

Preventing Infections

Prevention plays a key role in maintaining the health of your dental implants. Here are some tips to reduce the risk of infection:

  • Good oral hygiene: includes brushing and flossing daily to keep the implant area clean.
  • Regular dental visits: Schedule routine check-ups and cleanings to monitor the health of your implants.
  • Avoiding tobacco: Smoking can increase the risk of implant failure and infections.
  • Following post-operative care: adhering to your dentist's instructions after implant placement.

What are the Treatments for Infected Implants?

The treatments for infected dental implants depend on the severity of the infection. Here are the common approaches:


If the infection is mild or localized, antibiotics may be prescribed to eliminate the bacteria causing the infection. This treatment is often the first line of defense to control the infection and prevent it from spreading.

Professional Cleaning:

For moderate infections, your dentist may perform a thorough cleaning of the implant surface and the surrounding tissues. This involves removing plaque, calculus (tartar), and infected tissue to promote healing.

Surgical Debridement:

In cases where the infection has progressed and cannot be resolved with antibiotics and cleaning alone, surgical intervention may be necessary. This procedure involves opening the gum tissue to access the infected area, cleaning out the infected tissue, and possibly removing any compromised implant components. After cleaning, the area is carefully irrigated and closed to promote healing.

Implant Removal:

In severe cases where the infection has caused significant damage to the implant or surrounding bone, the implant may need to be removed temporarily to allow for healing. Once the infection has been controlled and the tissues have healed, a new implant may be placed, often after a period of several months.

Bone Grafting:

If the infection has led to bone loss around the implant site, your dentist may recommend a bone graft to rebuild and strengthen the jawbone before placing a new implant.

In Conclusion

While dental implants are a reliable solution for missing teeth, they can be vulnerable to infections if not properly cared for. Understanding the signs of infection, maintaining good oral hygiene, and seeking timely dental care are crucial for preventing and managing implant infections. With proper care and regular dental visits, dental implants can offer long-term benefits and enhance your quality of life.

Ready to explore dental implant options or need expert care? Contact Legacy Dental today for personalized dental solutions and compassionate care tailored to your needs.

Legacy Dental blog is proudly run by our Salt Lake City dentists team; We share knowledge about general dental care and practices. Apart from running this blog, we offer various dental services such as general dentistry, emergency dentistry, and dental implants for the community in Salt Lake City, Utah

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