Three million people have dental implants in the US alone. While in most cases, dental implants are fitted and cause no problems for patients, there can sometimes be issues. One of the more severe problems that can affect people with dental implants is a condition called Peri-implantitis. Thankfully, it’s exceedingly rare, but if you do get it, it can be incredibly difficult to treat.
Peri-implantitis causes soreness and inflammation in the gums around the dental implant. Because it’s an infectious disease, it can easily spread. The disease causes a destructive inflammatory process that results in loss of the bone supporting the implant. While the chances of developing this condition are low, it’s still important that you’re aware of what to look out for.
Who is most at risk of Peri-implantitis?
In the early stages of Peri-implantitis, most patients are unaware that they have it. This is because it causes little to no symptoms. The fact that it can occur any time after the procedure, from a year to ten years, makes it even harder to spot. However, there are certain people who are more prone to developing this condition than others. The people who are most at risk are listed below:
- People who smoke: When you smoke, your blood vessels constrict. This means that you’re more likely to develop gum problems.
- Don’t have good oral hygiene: If you want your implants and the surrounding tissue to stay healthy, it’s crucial that you brush, floss, and use mouthwash twice a day. If you don’t take care of your mouth, you’re putting yourself at risk.
- Have an underlying health condition: Do you suffer from diabetes, osteoporosis, or an autoimmune disease? If so, you are more at risk of having problems with your implants.
- People who had something go wrong during surgery: Sometimes things go wrong during surgery, such as the grafting being done badly or too much cement being used. These types of things can make you more prone to suffering from Peri-implantitis.
What symptoms should you look out for?
Initially, Peri-implantitis may be symptom-free, but over time there will be signs that there is a problem. If your gums bleed or become purple, for instance, these are two signs of the condition. As is a plaque build-up, pus from your gum line, and a tooth that looks longer than it should do. These are the most common symptoms, but that doesn’t mean all suffers will get them, and it’s important to understand that.
How is it diagnosed?
Peri-implantitis has to be diagnosed by a dentist, using an X-ray or 3D scan. Often, exploratory surgery is also required, so that the dentist can work out exactly what’s going on. A bone graft may be put in place to help save the implant. However, not all implants are salvageable. In this case,the implant will need to be removed.
What are the treatment options?
In regards to treating Peri-implantitis before it gets serious, there are options available. These include finding a way to correct the damage and save the implant. This is often a treatment where the gum is opened up and cleaned, and then antibiotics are administered. It’s important that the dentist who does the procedure is experienced. Otherwise, the same issue may recur in the future.