What is Peri-Implantitis and How Do You Avoid It?

The Perils of Peri-implantitis and Its Prevention

Peri-implantitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the gums (soft tissue) as well as the bone (hard tissue) surrounding the dental implant. It can potentially be destructive. Know more about it and how you and your dentist can prevent or manage it.

What peri-implantitis is is an inflammation around the dental implant. The most common culprit is the buildup of decay-causing tartar at the implant site, which usually is the result of poor oral hygiene. Tartar emits toxins that carry bacteria and cause irritation and then infection of the gums and the bone that supports the implant. If left unattended, the condition can ultimately result in gum destruction and loss of bone. Hence, at the onset, regular and proper brushing and flossing are key to prevention of this inflammation.

You can tell if your implant is in danger of peri-implantation. These signs and symptoms may be present: Pain at the implant site, swelling, tenderness, or redness of the gums, bleeding or pus discharge which may produce a foul odor, development of a pocket around the crown that may cause tooth movement. Once the anchor of the implant to the bone is lost, the implant can become loose or may fall out.

A risk factor, as mentioned earlier, is poor oral hygiene or a lack of an implant maintenance therapy. It may also be that the patient is unable to easily access the implant while brushing or flossing, or is not comfortable cleaning the area of the implant. One other risk factor is an excess of or a residual of cement. Cement is used to retain the implant in the bone tissue, and cement has a potentially rough surface that bacteria can lodge. This is possible with cement-retained implants. The alternative here is the screw-retained implant.

Other risk factors for peri-implantitis are diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Another risk factor is genetics.

If peri-implantitis is discovered early, before there is bone loss, the condition can be arrested and cured. That is why regular dentist visits are important. Not all patients with implants have the same degree of inflammation, besides an existing medical condition such as diabetes or pregnancy. If a patient is more prone to caries, it would be a good preventive measure to have regular plaque removal. Depending on the severity, treatment for peri-implantitis can range from non-surgical to surgical. So do not delay keeping your dentist appointments.


Helping Prevent Peri-implantitis in Federal Way

When you decide to have your dental implants at West Campus Dental, here in Federal Way, we will be your partners in prevention of peri-implantitis. See us for more helpful information.