While dental implants are a great way to replace a missing tooth or teeth, they are not impervious to problems. Despite a high success rate, as implants age they may be suceptible to a gum infection known as peri-implantitis whichinvolves inflammation and progressive bone loss around implants, much in the same way as periodontitis occurs around natural teeth. Many things can contribute to peri-implantitis such as cleansability (accessability) to the area for oral hygiene at home, implant cement left behind after the crown is placed on the implant, and impaction of food such as popcorn kernels. Your overall health can also contribute, especially if you have poorly controlled diabetes or are a tobacco user.
Studies indicate that as many as 16% of implants develop peri-implantitis by 6-7 years after placement. Newer studies suggest the risk may be even higher, and find that peri-implantitis occurence increases with an increasing number of years an implant is in service. Additionally the inflammatory nature of peri-implantitis can be a risk factor for systemic conditions such as heart disease and stroke, much in the same way as periodontitis around natural teeth is known to do.
Dr Paris and Dr Shumaker recommend strict maintenance cleaning and monitoring regimens for dental implants to prevent peri-implantitis. When peri-implantitis is detected procedures may be necessary to control it before your implant is lost. This may include deep cleaning, perioscopy, laser surgical treatment, or traditional surgical access to explore and remove contributing factors, and possibly bone grafting around your implant to restore bone lost to peri-implantitis.
If you have a dental implant which you believe is unhealthy, or are unsure if your dental implant(s) are adequately maintained call Dr Paris and Dr Shumaker’s office at 970-207-4061 to setup a consultation appointment, or ask your general dentist for a referral.