Dental implants

Peri-implantitis

Peri-implantitis is one of the long-term risks associated with dental implants. The disease is an infection of the soft and hard tissues surrounding an implant, resulting in gradual loss of bone. An X-ray will be able to determine if the bone supporting the implant is receding.

There are a variety of reasons for bone loss around the dental implant, some of which develop without you being aware of it. Bone loss can occur very early after crown placement on the implant, or it can happen later on down the line. This condition is hard to treat.

Initially, peri-implantitis is a painless condition, however once it is established, you may begin to develop symptoms.

Signs of peri-implantitis

  • The gum pockets around the implant become deeper
  • Fluid from the implant and gums
  • Bleeding at the gum line
  • Gum is red in appearance, or slightly purplish bluish with a plaque build up
  • X-ray shows loss of supporting bone
  • You can see the metal thread of the implant
  • The tooth looks longer than usual.

How does it occur?

  • Smoking and tobacco use can cause constriction of blood vessels, which leads to bone loss
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • If you have suffered with gingivitis or periodontitis in the past you may be at risk
  • Bruxism (grinding the teeth)
  • Medical issues, such as diabetes, osteoporosis and poor immune systems
  • Problems when the implant is placed, such as lack of tightness.

Treatment

Your dentist will clean the area thoroughly, antibiotics are often prescribed and a special antibacterial will be applied. As well as this, most implants affected by peri-implantitis will need surgery and transplanting of bone tissue.