Peri-implant diseases are inflammatory conditions affecting the soft and hard gum tissues around dental implants. Similar to a natural tooth, bacteria can build up on the base of the implant, below the gum line. Over time, the bacteria irritate the gum tissue, causing it to become inflamed, damaging the tissue and if not caught early, causing the bone structure below the implant to deteriorate.
Peri-implant diseases are classified into two categories:
- Peri-implant mucositis: In peri-implant mucositis, gum inflammation is found only around the soft tissues of the dental implant, with no signs of bone loss. Generally peri-implant mucositis is a precursor to peri-implantitis. Evidence suggests that peri-implant mucositis may be successfully treated and is reversible if caught early .
- Peri-implantitis: In peri-implantitis, gum inflammation is found around the soft tissue and there is 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.