Peri-implant diseases are inflammatory conditions affecting the hard and soft gum tissues around dental implants. Bacteria can build up on the base of the implant, below the gum line just as it can on an normal tooth. Over time, bacteria can irritate and inflame the gum tissue, causing damage to the gum tissue. If not caught early, the bacteria can penetrate further causing deterioration of the bone structure below the implant.
Peri-implant diseases are classified into two categories:
In peri-implant mucositis, inflammation is found only around the soft gum tissues surrounding the dental implant, with no signs of bone loss. Generally peri-implant mucositis is a precursor to peri-implantitis. Evidence suggests that if caught early, peri-implant mucositis may be successfully treated and is reversible.
In peri-implantitis, gum inflammation is found around the soft tissue and there is evidence of deterioration in the bone supporting the dental implant. Peri-implantitis usually requires surgical treatment.
Signs of peri-implant diseases are similar to symptoms of gum disease: red or tender gums around the implants, or bleeding when brushing. And just like your natural teeth, implants require regular tooth brushing and flossing and regular check-ups from a dental professional. Other risks factors for developing peri-implant disease include previous periodontal disease diagnosis, poor plaque control, smoking, and diabetes. It is essential to routinely monitor dental implants as part of a comprehensive periodontal evaluation.
The up side to dental implants is they function just like your natural tooth. The down side is, they are capable of becoming diseased just like a natural tooth. With a proper oral health routine, your dental implant can last a lifetime.
Dr. Heaton’s periodontal practice is one of the most experienced periodontal-dental implant practices in the Greater Houston Area.