What is Peri-Implantitis?
Peri-implantitis is a bacterial infection that is similar to periodontal disease and which can affect the gum tissue and bone surrounding dental implants. It is caused when bacteria build up just underneath the gum right next to the dental implant. Just like gum disease, peri-implantitis is very destructive, and unless treated promptly, can cause implant failure.
What are the Symptoms of Peri-Implantitis?
The symptoms of peri-implantitis are similar to gum disease too, and include:
- The gum around the implant could look slightly redder than normal, whereas healthy gums are pale pink.
- The gum tissue directly around the implant crown may have a red edge, and it could be more fragile, so it easily bleeds whenever you brush or floss.
- Instead of fitting snugly around your implant, the gum could look swollen.
- Healthy gum has a slightly stippled appearance similar to an orange rind, but unhealthy and swollen gum can look smooth and shiny.
- When you brush your teeth, your gums could feel sore.
- As the infection worsens, the gum may shrink away from your implant and could even expose the implant post in your jaw.
- Your implant might feel loose in your jaw.
Peri-implantitis can develop months or sometimes years after implant placement, depending on its cause.
What Can Cause Peri-Implantitis?
There are several reasons why peri-implantitis can develop and which include:
Poor Dental Implant Placement
It is critical to ensure your dental implant is expertly placed as there are often microscopic gaps left around an incorrectly fitted implant, and bacteria can enter these tiny spaces. A loose, ill-fitting implant crown also allows bacteria to get inside the dental implant as it is crucial implant crowns are precision fitted, eliminating these microscopic gaps.
Sometimes a less experienced implant dentist will not remove excess dental cement correctly when fitting an implant crown. When dental cement remains trapped around the crown, it creates a rougher area that encourages bacterial build-up.
Dr. Leonard Umanoff is an experienced and skilled implant dentist who uses advanced techniques to ensure every dental implant is situated correctly, eliminating microscopic gaps around the implant post. His extensive experience also ensures no excess cement remains around an implant crown.
Poor Implant Planning
During your initial assessment for dental implants, your implant dentist will determine the amount of healthy bone available for implant placement. However, they must also consider your gum tissue as you need strong and healthy gums that are correctly contoured to surround the implant and which helps to protect it and prevent bacterial infection such as peri-implantitis. IF the gum around your implant is thinner and is improperly contoured, the risk of bacterial infection is higher.
When Dr. Leonard Umanoff places dental implants, he considers all the tissues surrounding the implants, including gum tissue.
The gums can be contoured using reconstructive surgery, or bone grafting will provide additional support. It’s also possible to shape the gums using what are called healing caps and which are placed onto the dental implants after insertion. These healing caps encourage the gum to grow into the correct contours so that when the implant crown or bridge is placed, it is surrounded and protected by healthy gum. This technique ensures better aesthetics as the implant crown will look more natural as it emerges from the gum.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Peri-implantitis can easily develop if you fail to care for your dental implants correctly. You must brush and floss around your implant teeth thoroughly. If you have a removable implant-supported denture, you must regularly remove it so you can clean around the dental implants and can clean your denture thoroughly. Without good oral hygiene, plaque containing harmful bacteria will soon build up around the dental implants, significantly increasing your risk of peri-implantitis.
When you have dental implants, it is important to see your dentist regularly for checkups and professional hygiene appointments.
Regular dental checkups allow dentists to assess the condition of your dental implants and to check the bone level around them. Any signs of infection are more easily treatable when detected early. A hygienist uses special tools to clean around dental implants thoroughly, removing plaque and tartar buildup.
Treatment for Peri-Implantitis in Brooklyn NY
If you are concerned about your dental implants, it’s important to see a dentist quickly. Getting prompt treatment could save your implants. Treatment aims to remove the infection, often by deep cleaning around the affected implants.
Deep Cleaning Dental Implants with Laser Dentistry
Dental implants can be deep cleaned using a dental laser, which is a very gentle yet effective way to remove bacteria as the energy helps to sterilize tissues. Also, a dental laser can reach deep into the tissues without damaging the surface of the dental implant.
Once cleaned, the area is flushed with an antiseptic solution, and it may be necessary to place topical antibiotics that are time-released and which help to eliminate bacteria that may still be present in the tissues around the dental implants.
If you have signs of gum disease affecting natural teeth, we must treat this condition, too, to prevent further infection around your implant. Sometimes we will prescribe oral antibiotics, and it’s important to complete the course.
Surgical Treatment for Peri-Implantitis
Surgical treatment for peri-implantitis removes infected gum tissue, manually scraping away plaque and tartar buildup from around the implant. When bone loss is significant, bone grafting might be required to help save badly infected dental implants.
Once you have had peri-implantitis, it is even more crucial to maintain excellent oral hygiene. It isn’t difficult to look after dental implants correctly, and often, using an electric toothbrush can help improve daily oral care. We may also advise using an antimicrobial mouth rinse.
Our hygienists are also excellent at patient education and can work with you to make sure you are using the proper techniques to clean around your dental implants. By working together, we can help you to prevent reinfection.