Can A Tooth Abscess Cause A Jaw Angle Implant Infection?

Q: Dr. Eppley, About six months ago I had jaw implants. Three days ago I had unbearable pain from a toothache. The next day I went to a dentist and was prescribed Clindamacyn 300mg 3 times daily to treat a tooth infection. A day later I had the tooth drained, and next week it’ll be treated with a root canal. I’m concerned that the infection may have/will spread to the implant. The infection was around my upper molar. It led to severe left cheek/jaw swelling that I still have two days after beginning antibiotics. I wouldn’t say I have sharp pain at the implant site, but definitely some tenderness. 

I guess my questions are: 

1) is it likely that the infection could have spread to the implant? 

2) is there any way I can verify definitively whether the infection spread? Would x-rays be able to determine that? 

3) is 300mg 3x daily clindamycin the only thing I can do about it for now regardless? 

Thank you

A: In answer to your questions about potential jaw angle implant infection:

1) Generally an upper tooth infection does not spread to the jaw angle area as that is in a different tissue plane. There may be overall swelling in that side of the face but that does not necessarily mean the jaw angle implant is infected.

2) Infection can not be ruled in or by out by a CT scan unless there is a large fluid collection present.

3) Clindamycin is one of the first line drugs of use for oral-based infections. But like any infection the primary and most effective treatment is to eradicate the source.

4) These questions are more appropriately directed to the surgeon who placed your jaw angle implants. He/she would want to know about these concerns and followup up accordingly.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana