According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, about three million Americans currently have at least one implant. If an individual loses a tooth due to decay, injury, or even disease, a tooth implant can replace the lost tooth. Implants are strong and improve an individual’s ability to speak, eat, and – not to mention – their self-confidence. If you have a tooth implant and have ever experienced pain, you may have wondered about tooth implant pain. What are the symptoms associated with tooth implant pain and when is it time to call the dentist?
Symptoms associated with tooth implant pain
Tooth implant pain can occur as bone loss around an implant occurs. As the bone deteriorates, infection and inflammation can occur in the surrounding soft tissues. Many patients do not realize that bone loss is occurring until they begin experiencing symptoms.
Perhaps you’ve only felt a dull ache once in a while or a slight tenderness when chewing. Perhaps you’ve noticed an odd taste in your mouth. For patients with tooth implant pain, the symptoms are not always the same. Some patients may not experience tenderness, while other patients with more advanced pain may experience more severe symptoms like pus around the implant. Symptoms can appear slowly, but the most common symptoms include:
- Bleeding near the gum line
- Off-color gums, usually red or blue
- Increased levels of plaque, which can be seen accumulated around the gum line
- Deepening of the gum pockets
- Visible metallic threads (of the implant)
- Change in appearance of the tooth (tooth appears longer)
More severe symptoms include:
- Pus surrounding the gums and implant: This can often cause a bad taste in the patient’s mouth
- Swollen glands in the patient’s neck: This is a serious sign that infection is growing
- Wiggly (loose) implant
- Bone loss (diagnosed with an X-ray)
When should I call the dentist?
Because tooth implant pain is caused by an infection that causes an inflammatory response in the mouth, it is vital to speak to your dentist if you suspect you have tooth implant pain caused by an infection. Once at the office, your dentist will:
- Examine your mouth: Your dentist may check to make sure that the components of your implant are not broken or ill-fitting
- Take X-rays to check for any bone loss
- Use 3-D scanning to rule out if too much cement was the cause of the infection and pain
- Schedule surgery (if necessary): Some cases may require surgery to cleanse the gum, conduct a bone graft, and remove any infection-causing bacteria
The first goals are to stop your pain, stop the infection, and alleviate any painful symptoms you have experienced. The long-term goal is to prevent future infections and prevent additional bone loss. Your dentist will be able to create a plan of action only after you have come into the office for an exam.
Don’t suffer anymore!
Not only are infections and tooth implant pain uncomfortable, but you also don’t want the bone loss to progress. If you experience any of the above symptoms, contact us today.