Considering Implants? Here's What You Should Know About Peri-Implantitis
Although replacing missing teeth with dental implants offers many advantages, one risk brought about by the procedure is the potential for development of peri-implantitis. Here's what you need to know about this potential problem.
What is peri-implantitis?
Peri-implantitis is an inflammatory process that leads to the destruction of both hard and soft tissues that surround dental implants. It is caused by periodontal pathogens that can invade cavities left when dental implants are initially put into a patient's mouth. While peri-implantitis is a difficult condition to treat, it typically affects less than 30 percent of those with dental implants.
A patient's chances of developing perio-implantitis are increased by several factors. Those with the following characteristics should be aware of the fact that they are at an increased risk for developing this condition if they have dental implants:
- Smoking- Smoking is known to cause blood vessels to constrict, and this can contribute to bone loss.
- Osteoporosis- As peri-implantitis is a condition that involves bone loss, those with osteoporosis are more likely to see it develop around their dental implants.
- A weakened immune system- Those with a weakened immune system may have trouble fending off the periodontal pathogens that lead to the development of peri-implantitis.
- Past problems with gum disease- Patients who have suffered from gum disease are susceptible to infection caused by pathogens in the mouth. They are therefore more likely to develop peri-implantitis.
Though peri-implantitis may cause complications for those with dental implants, it is a reversible condition that can be treated in a variety of different ways. One of the first steps towards treatment of the condition is administering anti-microbials that will kill periodontal pathogens.
Peri-implantitis can also be treated with mechanical debridement of the affected area. If bone loss has already occurred, treatment might include attempts to regenerate bone in the areas surrounding affected implants.
Of course, the best method of dealing with peri-implantitis is preventing the development of the condition entirely. In most patients, peri-implantitis can be avoided when the following preventive measures are taken:
- Patients should develop a thorough oral hygiene routine that involves daily brushing and flossing. They should also get into the habit of using an antiseptic mouthwash that helps control microbes.
- Regular dentist appointments will help detect early signs of infection that could lead to peri-implantitis. The earlier the condition is detected, the less damage the patient will suffer.
- When dental implants are put in a patient's mouth, interior spaces or cavities left by the procedure should be sealed off as part of prophylaxis efforts.
For more information, contact a dental implant specialist, such as Oral Surgery Associates Inc.