Dental implants are known for their very high success rate. However, just like any other surgical procedure, they are not without risk. Peri-implantitis is one of the long-term risks of dental implants. It is an infection that causes inflammation of the surrounding gum and bone of an already integrated dental implant. Unfortunately, peri-implantitis results in progressive bone loss.
Most dental implant patients never experience peri-implantitis. The patients that do will often be unaware that bone loss is occurring around the dental implant. Peri-implantitis can progress without pain. Again, not all patients have symptoms but the most common signs of peri-implantitis include the following:
- Deep gum pockets
- Presence of pus from the implants and gums
- Bleeding at the gum line
- Gums that are red or slightly purplish bluish, tartar/plaque build up
- Metal thread exposure
- Long tooth
- Dull ache or tenderness at implant site
- Bad taste, due to presence of pus
If you are experiencing any of the above signs or have concerns about your dental implant, always contact your dentist right away. Peri-implantitis may develop years after your initial implant placement.
Your dental implant can still be saved. Most peri-implantitis dental implants require surgery and bone grafting, which will also involve cleaning the gums of bacteria and eliminating infection before regrafting.
Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD is a renown implants dentist who can treat peri-implantitis and correct other types implant failure. Patients can suffer from peri-implantitis due to poor surgical technique. Dr. Suway will evaluate the cement used, the quality of the crown and check for loose abutment screws. All of these can contribute to peri-implantitis. Bone loss after dental implants can also occur in patients who smoke, have diabetes or suffer from gum disease.