Dental Implants And Peri-Implantitis: An Unexpected Complication

Dental implants can be a wonderful thing for patients who have endured years of problems with their  natural teeth. Beautiful porcelain teeth can be permanently implanted into the jaw with metal pegs, giving the look and feel of natural teeth -- but an inflammatory disease called peri-implantitis can suddenly create new problems, including implant failure. Here's what you should know.

1.) The number of peri-implantitis cases is on the rise.

Ten years ago, there was little to no mention of this disease among dental professionals. Now, with over a 1/2 million adults with dental implants, the disease is on the rise. Some studies indicate that up to 1/3 of patients with dental implants can expect to deal with the disease at some point, even years after their implants are done. 

2.) Early detection of the condition can prevent major issues.

Peri-implantitis is preceded by a milder condition called peri-implant mucositis, which confines itself to the soft tissue surrounding the bone. If the disease can be halted at that stage, the jawbone surrounding the implant won't be affected, and you won't experience bone loss.

If successfully treated at the mucositis stage, surgical intervention can be avoided. 

3.) The early symptoms are similar to that of ordinary gum disease.

Patients with dental implants should watch for symptoms of gum disease, particularly around their implanted teeth. Red, swollen gums and bleeding when brushing are the most common signs. If you experience these symptoms, even years after your implants are done, contact your dentist right away so that you can be x-rayed and examined for signs of mucositis.

4.) Some patients are more prone to the disease than others.

Always keep in mind that, just like your natural teeth, your implants need regular brushing, flossing, and yearly exams by your dentist. Your risk of developing mucositis, and eventually the more severe peri-implantitis, increases if you have a history of periodontal disease, dental plaque, smoking, and diabetes.

5.) Once the full peri-implantitis develops, surgery is usually required.

The options for treating full-blown peri-implantitis are generally highly invasive, complex procedures that require multiple visits and monitoring. Treatment ranges from debridement to clean off the implants and surrounding bone, oral antibiotics placed directly into the bone pocket with the implant, and procedures involving bone grafting. Drugs can also be used to try to stimulate new bone growth.

What's important to remember is that dental implants -- just like natural teeth -- require regular care and treatment. Otherwise, just like natural teeth, they can end up developing complications and infections. If you have dental implants, make sure that you see your dentist for regular care and make an appointment right away if you notice sore gums or bleeding when you brush.

For more information, contact Las Vegas Dental Experts or a similar location..