Is My Cheek Implant Infected?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had a cheek implant put in 25 years ago. Due to stress I have been grinding my teeth at night. I do wear a mouthguard. Twice over the past few months, I have woken up in pain where the implant is located. The first time I thought I had an infection in my gums and I took penecilin. It did go away but I was also very careful about managing the grinding. I just woke up 3 days ago with the same pain. I believe it is the implant and not a gum problem. I can’t even chew on that side it is too painful. 

A: I believe what you are experiencing is a problem with your cheek implant. Undoubtably with such old cheek implants they are probably placed anteriorly with a downward angle, putting them close to the maxillary vestibule. Short of a tooth-related problem, which I can not say does not exist, the next culprit would be the cheek implant. The key question now in their management is whether implant removal alone is enough or whether replacement is desired.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana