Protect Dental Implants from Peri-Implantitis

Dental implants are a reliable, natural-looking, highly functional option for patients who seek to replace one or more missing teeth, with success rates as high as 95 percent. Just like the natural teeth, however, dental implants require maintenance and consistent care in order to remain stable for the long term. Without sufficient care, complications like peri-implantitis can develop and compromise the stability and efficacy of dental implant restorations. Peri-implantitis is an inflammatory infection in the tissues that surround and support dental implants, and there are measures implant patients can take to help protect their implants from peri-implantitis and other complications.

Dental implant restorations rely on a titanium implant post that’s surgically placed into the jaw bone, where it supports an artificial tooth or row of teeth. Because this implant post fuses together with the jawbone, creating a permanent bond, implant restorations won’t slip or loosen like traditional dentures and provide a superior appearance and superlative function. Like anything in the human mouth, however, dental implants are susceptible to plaque buildup and require routine cleaning, both at home and at the dentist’s office. When plaque accumulates at the base of a dental implant, the surrounding tissues are invaded by bacteria and inflammation develops. As this bacteria continues to invade the tissues, the gums grow more inflamed and the bone beneath the gums begins to deteriorate. Eventually, without treatment, this can lead to implant failure, and a once-stable dental implant loosens and falls out as the bone continues to diminish.

Dental implants should be thought of as an investment in the health and appearance of the patient and are designed to last for decades, though this requires patients to take care of their investment. The first step in preventing peri-implantitis is to choose a reputable implant dentist for your procedure. Once implants are placed, the success of the implant will largely depend on the oral hygiene of the patient. Dental implants are cleaned much like natural teeth, with twice daily brushing and daily interdental cleaning with floss or a water flosser. If your dental implants are in an awkward location, your dentist can recommend specialized tools to help you keep them clean and will also provide instruction on proper cleaning techniques. Regular dental checkups allow your dentist to supplement your home hygiene with professional cleaning and also allow your dentist to evaluate your hygiene practices and recommend changes if needed. At these checkups, your dentist will also assess your oral cavity, including your dental implants, for early signs of inflammation or infection and will provide treatment that can reverse these early indications of infection and prevent its disastrous effects. Some estimates indicate that as many as 40% of dental implant patients have had early stages of peri-implant disease, which is reversible when treated promptly and can be managed with routine dental appointments. If you smoke, consider quitting, as smokers face a much greater risk of implant complications and other oral health issues. While there are many effective treatments for peri-implantitis, they can be invasive, expensive, and time-consuming, and the best approach is to prevent the condition from occurring in the first place.

Avoid Peri-Implant Disease