If you ever had a dental implant placed, you are at risk of having peri implantitis. Peri implantitis is a condition wherein complications after tooth implant surgery arise. In several ways, people often confuse peri-implantitis with gum disease, as it can cause damages to the gums and teeth. Aside from proper oral care, early detection of peri-implantitis symptoms can help prevent worsening the condition.
Peri Implantitis: An Overview
Getting dental implants does not necessarily mean that you will acquire peri-implantitis. This condition only begins when bacterial exposure happens during your surgery or when you receive your dental implants.
The bacteria will form and infect the surrounding area where your dentist placed the implant. Without proper oral care and treatment, the dental implant infection can worsen and cause damages to your oral health. Aside from losing your dental implants, more severe complications such as bone loss and gum disease will start to come about.
Identifying Peri-Implantitis Symptoms
You can detect relatively mild symptoms during the early stages of peri-implantitis. Most only experience swollen and tender gums, leading to an increase in mouth sensitivity. Some, however, do not get noticeable symptoms. Early detection of implant infection is essential to avoid any possible complications and oral problems.
It is crucial to know what to watch out for so you can consult your dentist as soon as possible. You can improve your chances of avoiding implant infection by taking note of some of the following symptoms:
- There are signs of inflammation characterized by swelling, redness, and pain across the gum tissue where the dental implants are present.
- There is a noticeable sign of the gum line’s recession or an increase in the size and depth of the gum “pocket” where the dental implants are present.
- Dental implants that expose its threads, visible with the naked eye.
- There is a loosening on the placement of dental implants.
- Pus discharge coming from the gums located around the implants. You may also get a very unpleasant taste instead of visually noticing it.
- Bone loss or deterioration can be painful but not visually noticeable. You can often feel soreness around the jaw area.
- Bleeding gums are not a prominent symptom but could occur when the condition starts to reach the gum line.
- You can find swollen and tender lymph nodes around the armpits or neck area.
Causes of Peri Implantitis
Here are some of the main reasons why peri-implantitis take place:
- The patient has a compromised immune system.
If you are affected by a disease that compromises your immune system, you are at a higher risk to experience peri-implantitis. It is essential to let your dentist know if you have diabetes or other illnesses that affect your systemic function. Your oral care provider will provide you with treatment alternatives that could fit your current health status nicely.
- The patient did not practice proper oral care.
Leftover food particles that accumulate around the dental implant constitute a significant factor for implant infection. If you do not regularly brush or floss your teeth, any food particles that are left can harbor bacteria, plaque, and caries. Good oral hygiene is needed to eliminate and minimize these harmful pathogens’ growth on your mouth.
- The patient suffers from parafunctional habits.
Parafunctional habits are involuntary habits that are impossible to control, such as bruxism, lip biting, thumb sucking, and many more. These habits can cause unexpected movements and bacterial exposure across your dental implants, a primary cause of infections.
- The patient has vices.
Peri-implantitis can speed up its progression if the patient continually does his vices such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and drug abuse.
Peri Implantitis Diagnosis
Your dental care provider can detect peri implantitis through an x-ray. The dental imaging will show signs of receding bone structure along the area where the dental implant is present. Although, minor cases of peri-implantitis are visually confirmed when there are changes in gum color and pus discharge through the gums.
Peri Implantitis Treatment Options
While the above condition and symptoms can be a critical risk, it is necessary to note that you can overcome peri implantitis with treatment. With adequate supervision and proper care, you can end a dental implant infection in no time.
Here are some treatment options that your dentist may perform if you experience peri-implantitis:
- For mild cases
With proper dental tools, your dentist can perform thorough cleaning along the area of infection. Your dentist will provide you with a treatment course of medication, particularly antibiotics, to eliminate any remaining disease-causing bacteria within your gum and bone.
- For advanced cases
The dentist will focus on stopping the progression of bone loss and keeping the dental implants in place. Minor bone loss regenerative procedures are also necessary. Laser treatments and other antiseptic medications are done to remove any bacteria and plaque build-up.
- For severe cases
Dental professionals will repair other damages caused by peri-implantitis, which involves opening the gums and minimizing the infection. Your dentist will remove the dental implant and use bone grafting procedures for bone loss. You will also get a more substantial antibiotic treatment course for the elimination of unhealthy bacteria.
Techniques to Prevent Implant Infection
You can enjoy a healthy recovery for your dental implants and prevent the occurrence of implant infection by following these care techniques:
- Regular visits to the dentist
Routine check-ups to the dentist will not only help in monitoring your oral status but will also help in detecting early signs of problems. A periodontist specialist can treat many conditions that may arise from your dental implant surgery. In case any correction procedures are needed, your dentist will be able to do it quickly because the state is only mild.
- Adherence to the suggested dental implant aftercare
Your dentist or periodontist will provide you with the necessary aftercare procedures. Strictly follow these procedures and take note of what you need to avoid so you can prevent any unwanted complications.
- Practice proper oral hygiene
As discussed earlier, good oral hygiene will come a long way. You can prevent infections and other complications with regular brushing and flossing techniques. Do not forget to brush your teeth twice a day or after meals and flossing once a day before bedtime.
(Medical News Today, August 2020). What problems can occur after dental implant surgery?
(World Health Organization, March 2020). Oral Health.
(American Dental Association, January 2005). Treating periodontal diseases.