I’m a couple of months into my dental implant procedure. I noticed yesterday it started feeling different. When I pushed on the surrounding area it was sort of malleable. I left it alone and decided I’d call on Monday because we were going into the weekend. Today, though, my whole jaw is swollen and I can’t even eat. Is something seriously wrong?
It sounds like you’ve developed an infection at the dental implant site. Even worse, it sounds fast moving. Your jaw is now affected. Without treatment, this will keep spreading. If you think about how close your heart and brain are to your jaw, spreading to either of those can become life-threatening rather quickly.
Your implant dentist should have an after hours protocol for dental emergencies. This would definitely be considered one of those. Not only does an infection put you at risk, it puts your entire dental implant procedure at risk as well. The leading cause of dental implant failure is an infection.
If You Can’t Reach Your Dentist
If for some reason you can’t actually reach your dentist, I want you to do an internet search using the term “emergency dentist” or “dental emergency”. These are dentists who are willing to treat patients, such as yourself, when they can’t reach their dentist.
While some only treat during normal business hours, others would be willing to meet with you given the situation. Make sure they’ve placed dental implants themselves, however, and have good experience with that procedure. I wouldn’t want an inexperienced implant dentist to mess anything up.
In the absolute worst case scenario where you can’t find anyone, call your medical doctor. They won’t examine the implant site, but they will likely be willing to prescribe an antibiotic which should at least stave off the infection until you can get in to see your dentist on Monday.
My husband was in an accident which caused him to lose a tooth. He chose to replace it with a dental implant because he wanted the best replacement possible. He’s in a very public job and appearance is important. About a month after he had the implant done I started noticing his breathtaking a turn for the worse. He’s very diligent with his oral care so I thought maybe it was just a one-day thing, but it’s been a week and it’s getting steadily worse. Is this normal with dental implants or should I bring it up with him? I only want to bring it up if there’s something he can do about it. I don’t want to make him self-conscious.
You sound like a loving wife. I’m glad you noticed this about your husband’s breath because this is not a normal side-effect of getting dental implants.
If you are certain nothing has changed with his oral hygiene habits then he may be looking at the beginning of an infection. If it’s not dealt with quickly, he could be looking at dental implant failure and having to start completely over on the procedure.
You could start out by asking him how the implant has been feeling. This way you’re not bringing up his breath. He may mention that it feels weird or he has a bad taste in his mouth. In that case, you can tell him to see his implant dentist in order to have it looked at.
If there is an infection and he loses the implant, starting over will require an additional procedure of bone grafting to get it done. Make sure he stays on top of this.
Dental Implants and Teeth Whitening
I’m only mentioning this part because you said your husband has a very public job and his appearance is important. If he plans on whitening his teeth, make sure he does it before it is time to make his implant crown. That way, he can have the porcelain crown made to match is whiter teeth.
Once the crown is done, the color won’t change, not even with professional teeth whitening. He’s likely a very busy man with his job, so let him know with Zoom Whitening it can be done in just one appointment.
I don’t know what to do. I’m on my third dental implant at the same spot and my dentist said he’ll only give it one more chance. I want to get it right this time. Here’s what’s going on and maybe you can tell me what I’m doing wrong. I certainly can’t figure it out. I had a dental implant placed. It snaped off after three days. I didn’t eat anything hard with it because I was kind of babying it and working my way up to harder things. The dentist offered to replace it for free but I needed bone grafting in order to have it placed. I did that. Then after the next implant procedure was done and waiting period over, I got the next crown. A month later it broke off. I was even more careful the second time but it still didn’t stick. What do I do? I’m just about to have the next bone grafting done.
I’m going to tell you up front you are definitely not the problem. I’m very sorry your dentist is putting you through this. There are some general reasons for dental implant failure:
Infection is the most common. Smokers are at the highest risk for this. You’d know if you had an infection so don’t worry about this one. The next option is premature placement. That’s when your dentist doesn’t give the implant enough time to integrate and build up bone structure around it. I don’t think this is your problem. This generally manifests by the implant coming loose and falling out. That’s not what yours is doing.
The most likely scenario for you is your dentist is using cheap implants. This is an example of when cheap doesn’t equate with affordable. A dental implant structure made in the United States will cost a dentist several hundred dollars. But, a dentist can get one made elsewhere for a few dollars. When they’re not properly made, they snap. Though, another reason for them to snap is improper placement. Either one is your dentist’s fault.
How to Get a Succesful Dental Implant
Your dentist should have clued in to what was going on after the first failure. Because he didn’t, I’m concerned. I don’t think it will matter if you have him do it another time. He won’t get it right. You’re best bet is to ask him for a full refund. He should give it to you. If he doesn’t, there are any number of qualified implant dentists that will back you up if you go to them for a second opinion.
I want you to look for a dentist with significant post-graduate implant training. For instance, Dr. Potts spent three years doing an internship at an implant institute. Have a dentist like that replace your implant for you, you’ll likely find you have a much better experience.
I’ve had an unending nightmare with my dental implant. First, it fell out. Then I had to get bone grafting somewhere else and then go back to him to have the implant re-done. Then I’ve been treated for infection after infection. It seems to be under control now, but lately I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth. And, to make matters humiliating, my boyfriend mentioned my breath has turned bad. My dentist said the implant is fine and to see a doctor. I’m having a hard time thinking the implant has nothing to do with it.
Beverly C. – Wisconsin
Wow! What a nightmare you’ve had. I’d be interested to know what type of dental implants training your dentist has. This an advanced procedure and requires more knowledge than just the basic training from dental school.
With your recurrent infections, I wouldn’t be so quick to brush off the dental implant as the cause of the smell and taste. It sounds like the infection could be rearing it’s ugly head again. If the infection takes hold, you could lose the implant…again. If so, that would mean starting over with bone grafting and then a new implant.
It would be a good idea to get a second opinion on this from another implant dentist. Find one with some expertise.
I want to get dental implants, but my dentist says you have to be a non-smoker. I just can’t quit. I’ve tried a few times and it hasn’t worked. Does this mean I can never get dental implants?
Missy F. – Montana
There are dentists who will do dental implants for smokers, but if they’re worth a dime at their job, they will strongly suggest you quit. There is a good reason. Doing implants is a highly advanced and complicated procedure. Even when everything is done right, there is a chance for dental implant failure.
When you smoke, it adds to the likelihood of implant failure. You already know how bad smoking is for your lungs. However, you might not be aware that it also causes reduced blood flow in your gums. That will impact your healing time. It also increases the likelihood for gum disease and infection.
Your dentist just wants you to start the procedure with the best chance for success.
I had an implant put in and then a couple of weeks later my dentist added the crown. Right after that I went back to my dentist because it felt loose to me. My dentist thought it was the crown that was loose, but when he removed the crown, the implant came out with it. He wasn’t sure what happened. Do you know what went wrong?
Amber A. – Las Vegas
I hate to tell you this, but your dentist is an incompetent moron. It should have been very obvious the problem was the implant and not the crown.
You asked me what went wrong. There are a few possibilities when an implant comes out soon after the crown is placed. However, in your case the answer is almost glaringly obvious. Your dentist didn’t leave enough time for the bone to grow around the implant. This process is called oseointegration and it is absolutely essential for the success of the implant.
Fixing this is more complicated and I don’t think your dentist is the one to do it. I would go to a more qualified implant dentist. I’d also tell your dentist to either refund your money or pay for the repair procedure.