Dental implants are one of the longest-lasting and most beneficial tooth replacements in dentistry. They are not, however, immune to infection and disease. Though rare, dental implants can become compromised if the gum tissue around the implant gets infected. This disease is known as peri-implantitis and much like gum disease, it can progress until your investment can no longer be salvaged. The good news is that if peri-implantitis is caught early, your dental implant can most likely be saved!
What is peri-implantitis?
Peri-implantitis is a progressive condition like gum disease. It begins when bacterial plaque is left to harden into calculus below the gum line. The gum tissue responds by becoming infected and pulling away from the dental implant. If this infection is not treated, it will continue to damage the gum tissue and bone surrounding the dental implant. The dental implant will fail and need to be removed if peri-implantitis is never treated.
Why does peri-implantitis occur?
Many factors can contribute to peri-implantitis, but the main ones are poor oral hygiene or bad habits like smoking or teeth grinding and clenching. Other contributing factors include a compromised immune system due to diabetes and poor bone at the treatment site. By the time a patient notices that something is wrong, peri-implantitis symptoms may include red or bleeding gums around the dental implant, pockets forming around the crown, implant exposure, or loosening of the implant.
The steps to saving your dental implant
While no dentist can guarantee they can save your failing dental implant, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek treatment as soon as you notice symptoms. The infection that causes peri-implantitis can be effectively treated with multiple measures, especially if caught early. Your dentist may use antibiotics to treat the bacteria causing the infection. They will also use surgical techniques to clean the area beneath the gum line and remove diseased gum tissue. Bone grafting may also be needed to restore stability to the dental implant.
Schedule your appointment
If you have signs of peri-implantitis, do not wait to schedule your appointment! Contact your local implant dentist today.