Peri-implant (definition: around the implant) disease is an inflammatory condition affecting the gum and bone surrounding dental implants. Similar to a natural tooth, plaque, bacteria and bacterial toxins can build up on the base of the implant and below the gum line. If undisturbed, the bacteria irritate the gum tissue causing inflammation and damaging the soft tissues. This inflammation will travel deeper to affect the peri-implant bone structure, causing it to deteriorate.
1 In peri-implant mucositis, inflammation is found only within the soft tissues surrounding the dental implant, with no signs of bone loss. Generally peri-implant mucositis is a precursor to peri-implantitis. In most patients, peri-implant mucositis may be successfully treated and is reversible if caught early.
2 In peri-implantitis, inflammation is more wide spread and found around the soft tissue along with deterioration of the bone supporting the dental implant. Peri-implantitis will cause the implant to fail if left untreated. Eradication of the infection will usually require surgical intervention or treatment with a laser.
Signs of peri-implant diseases are similar to symptoms of traditional gum disease: red, puffy or tender gums around the affected implants, or bleeding when brushing. Just like your natural teeth, implants require regular home oral care with tooth brushing and flossing in tandem with regular check-ups and professional hygiene care. Other risks factors for developing peri-implant disease are similar to those of periodontitis, which include previous history periodontal disease, poor plaque control, smoking, and diabetes. Even if you have no natural teeth, it is essential to routinely monitor dental implants as part of a comprehensive oral evaluation.
The up side to dental implants is they function just like your natural teeth so you have to take care of them like your natural teeth. The down side is, they are capable of becoming diseased just like a natural teeth or even faster. With a proper oral care regimen, your dental implants will give you something to smile about and can last a lifetime.