Dental and medical procedures are all likely to have better end results when patients have a good understanding of the process, including any potential problems they might experience. This is particularly true for those who have already had an implant or those who are planning to undergo the procedure to replace one or more missing or damaged teeth. 

Peri-implantitis is an example of one of the serious problems that dental implant patients may experience. Learning as much as possible about peri-implantitis and how to prevent it from occurring is an important part of having a good dental implant experience. 

What is the cause of the development of peri-implantits? 

While the implant itself is constructed from materials that are unaffected by bacteria and infection, the tissues and bone that surround the implant are highly susceptible to infection. Peri-implantitis develops when the tissues and bone surrounding the implant begin to deteriorate, usually due to infection. Without healthy bone and gum tissues, the implant loses its vital structural support and becomes subject to failure. 

What symptoms might a dental implant patient experience? 

When an implant patient begins to develop peri-implantitis, they may notice symptoms that can become progressively worse over time. Gum tissues that become tender or inflamed are often the first noticeable symptom. Later, the patient may notice blood or pus forming around the implant site, as well as the sensation that the implant is no longer firmly attached to the jaw bone. Varying amounts of irritation and pain may also be noted. 

What can dental implant patients do to prevent peri-implantitis? 

Peri-implantitis is a serious condition that can result in failure of the implant or the need to remove the implant and treat for infection.  Dental implant patients who want to lessen the risk of developing peri-implantitis can do so through careful attention to oral hygiene after receiving their implant, including the use of frequent brushing, flossing, and rinses designed to reduce bacterial concentrations in the mouth. 

In addition, patients should also refrain from smoking and strive to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, as both are known to have negative impacts for dental implant recipients.

Daily inspections with a small dental mirror can help implant recipients recognize changes that may occur in the appearance of the gum tissue before any pain or movement of the implant are felt. Implant recipients who notice any visible changes in their gums, including swelling or changes in color, should seek appropriate dental care as soon as possible. 

Those who have dental implants or those who are interested in having the procedure done in the future can learn more about peri-implantitis by consulting a reputable dental care provider in their area.