Everything You Need to Know About Peri-Implantitis And How it Threatens Dental Implants

Dec 16, 2022
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Peri-implantitis is the number one enemy of dental implants. Continue reading to find out more about this condition and how it affects the health of a dental implant.

Having dental implants is a big decision that can give you life-changing benefits. These prosthetics are a permanent solution to missing teeth, providing secure and natural-looking replacements. Implants can also help preserve bone structure, reduce bone loss and improve the appearance of your smile, helping to restore your confidence.

Dental implants involve the surgical placement of small titanium screws in the jawbone that act as artificial tooth roots. Once the implant is in place, a crown, bridge, or denture can be secured to it.

The success rate of dental implants is very high and can range from 95-98%, depending on the patient’s oral health, overall health, the health of the jaw and the skill of the dental team.

What Is Peri-Implantitis?

One possible complication of having dental implants is peri-implantitis, an inflammatory condition that affects the tissue surrounding a dental implant. It is caused by an accumulation of bacteria around the implant that leads to infection and inflammation of the gums, bone and other surrounding tissue. This can cause pain, swelling, and redness of the gums and may eventually lead to the loss of the implant.

Peri-implantitis is most commonly caused by poor oral hygiene and occurs more in people with certain risk factors, such as smoking and diabetes.

This article will explore the symptoms, causes and treatments for peri-implantitis, as well as ways to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

What Are The Symptoms Of Peri-Implantitis?

There are numerous signs and symptoms of peri-implantitis, which can include:

  • Swelling or redness around the implant site
  • Bleeding or pus when the implant is touched
  • Pain when biting or chewing food
  • A loose implant
  • A bad taste in the mouth or bad breath
  • Receding gum tissue
  • Unusual mobility of the implant
  • Bone loss around the implant site
  • In some cases, the implant may become loose or may not be able to hold the restoration in place.

If left untreated, the infection can spread to the surrounding tissue and cause further damage. Early detection and treatment of peri-implantitis is essential in order to prevent more damage and the potential loss of the implant. 

If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, contact your dental clinic at the earliest opportunity.

What Are The Causes Of Peri-Implantitis?

There are a number of possible causes of peri-implantitis, including:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Poorly designed crowns or bridges
  • Poorly designed or placed dental implants
  • Smoking
  • Poorly fitting dentures or prostheses
  • Systemic diseases such as diabetes or HIV
  • Use of certain medications
  • Poor nutrition
  • Bacterial biofilms on implant surfaces
  • Excessive force on the implant during chewing

Strategies for Treating and Managing Peri-Implantitis

The first step in treating peri-implantitis is to identify and remove any sources of bacteria that may be contributing to the infection. This includes removing plaque and calculus deposits (hardened plaque) from around the implant and performing a thorough dental cleaning. If any underlying medical issues are contributing to the infection, such as diabetes or poor oral hygiene, these must be addressed as well. 

Once the source of the infection has been identified, the next step is to reduce the inflammation and eliminate the bacteria. This is usually done with a combination of local antibiotics, antiseptic rinses and laser treatments. Antibiotics can be administered topically or systemically, depending on the severity of the infection. Laser treatments kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, and encourage healing. 

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove damaged tissue and to help promote healing. The surgery is usually done under local anesthesia (so you won´t be put to sleep) and may involve the removal of bone and soft tissue around the implant.

After surgery, antibiotics and antiseptic rinses may be prescribed to help reduce the risk of infection.

How To Prevent Peri-Implantitis

So, can you stop peri-implantitis from occurring in the first place? Yes, there are several tried and tested ways to keep the germs out and protect your implants.

  1. Maintain good oral hygiene habits. When you brush your teeth, be sure to clean around your dental implants as well.
  2. Visit your dentist regularly. Get professional cleanings and check-ups every six months. During these visits, your dentist can monitor your implants for signs of peri-implantitis.
  3. Quit smoking. Smoking is a major risk factor for peri-implantitis. If you smoke, try to kick the habit as soon as possible.
  4. Avoid excessive force. Don’t use your implants to bite or chew hard or crunchy foods or objects.
  5. Eat a healthy diet. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can help keep your gums healthy.
  6. Consider preventive treatments. Ask your dentist about preventive treatments such as laser therapy or special cleaning techniques that can help reduce your risk of peri-implantitis.

Following these steps can help prevent the development of peri-implantitis and keep your gums and teeth in tip-top condition.

Protecting Your Dental Implants

If you have any questions or concerns about protecting your dental implants, Chesterfield Dentistry is here to help. Our experienced team of dental professionals is well-versed in the maintenance and care of dental implants and can provide you with all the information you need to ensure your implants stay healthy for years to come.

Contact us today to learn more about how to best care for your dental implants. Simply give us a call to set up a no-obligation consultation.

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