My gums are swollen around one of my dental implants

My gums are swollen around one of my dental implants. I have 4 implants that I got in July of last year. So it hasn’t been quite a year. I had more pain than normal (at least that’s what my dentist said) after I got the implants, but after 3 weeks, everything seemed to be fine. The only thing unusual I noticed is a bit of pain in the tooth (top right side) when I chew. I rarely chew on the left side of my mouth, so this was noticeable right away. I guess the first hint of pain was last month. I flossed really well that night and I didn’t feel anything again until 3 or 4 days ago. I figured that something might have gotten stuck between my gums and the implant.  After I finished eating I flossed again and notice that my gums around the implant are swollen. The gums are swollen on the outside near my cheek and on the inside of the tooth. If I’m correct, I’m way past the period where my gums should be swollen. I’m scheduling a dentist’s appointment about this, but I’m just wondering what could be going on. I kind of want to have something to compare to what my dentist will tell me. Thanks. Brad

Brad – Post-operative swelling and bruising in your gum tissue for a few days after you receive dental implants is normal. But swelling that happens after several months is not normal at all. You should schedule an appointment with your dentist right away.

What will your dentist do about swelling around dental implants?

  • Treat the swelling – The affected area will be checked for food below the gumline, cleaned, and disinfected. Your dentist will determine if antibiotics are needed. Swelling is your body’s response to an infection, and antibiotics can help your body fight an infection.
  • Examine your dental implant – Your dentist will ensure that your dental implant is not damaged or exposed. If the implant fixture is defective, your jawbone can detach from it, and it will be difficult, if not impossible, for the bone to reattach itself. In that case, the implant will need to removed and later replaced.
  • Look further for the cause of infection – If there is no debris between your gums and the implant, and if the implant is in good condition, your dentist will look for the source of the infection. Periodontal disease, certain medication, and certain medical conditions, including diabetes, can cause swelling. Smoking can also irritate gum tissue.

Preventive care

There are some things you can do to reduce the chances of swelling and inflammation around your dental implant.

  • Limit or avoid chips, popcorn, nuts, shells and other food that can get stuck between your gums and the implant. There is more suction between your gums and your natural teeth than there is between your gums and dental implants, so be careful. If you do eat these foods on occasion, try to avoid chewing with the implant.
  • Floss daily, and floss well around your dental implants to remove food debris. Although the fixtures are not natural teeth, you still need to floss around them.
  • Avoid smoking because it irritates gum tissue and restricts blood flow, which is needed for healthy gums.
  • Keep your regularly scheduled appointments for dental cleanings and exams. It assists with early detection of any issues with your gums, teeth, or dental implants.

An infection in your gums can spread and cause dental implant failure. It can even spread to other teeth and cause root canal treatment, or it can spread into your jawbone. Don’t delay scheduling an appointment with your dentist.

This post is sponsored by Baton Rouge dentist Dr. Steven Collins.