This oral implant case involves a sixty-five-year-old patient who was referred by her dentist to an oral surgeon after she underwent a procedure to insert two internal Heximplant titanium dental implants. She also underwent bone grafts to create a proper surface for device implantation. There were no complications during surgery, but the patient presented back to the office with complaints of severe pain and symptoms of an infectious process. The patient was sent home without antibiotics and told to return in a few days if the pain continued. Three days later, the patient was admitted to the emergency room for shortness of breath and lethargy. The patient was intubated due to respiratory failure and it was determined that a bacterial infection and sepsis was the underlying cause.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Should these devices have been removed when an infection was first suspected?
Expert Witness Response E-005198
In the immediate period after the placement of dental implants, infection, although rare, can be a complication. The patient may note an increase in pain, possible drainage, swelling, and redness around the implant. Depending on where the infection is originating from, it may require some antibiotics, local irrigation, or removal of the implant, altogether. In this case, the failure to remove the implants after suspected cellulitis and osteomyelitis led to the severe systemic complications including bacteremia and sepsis.