Whether an individual is replacing a single tooth, several teeth or an entire arch of missing teeth, dental implants are the only natural-looking, permanent tooth replacement option available. Filling the gaps left behind by missing natural teeth prevents the remaining teeth from shifting. In addition, dental implants have a root, which stimulates the jawbone, preventing resorption. Resorption occurs when the jawbone is broken down at a cellular level due to a lack of stimulation. Although dental implants have an extremely high success rate of approximately 98 percent, a condition referred to as peri-implantitis can wreak havoc on the gum tissue and the jawbone, which, in turn, negatively affects the dental implant(s). Peri-implantitis is especially concerning if it develops during the healing process.
What is Peri-Implantitis?
Peri-implantitis is the medical term used to describe inflammation of the tissue surrounding a dental implant. This inflammation results from bacteria feeding on the tartar and plaque within the mouth.
The symptoms of peri-implantitis include:
- Pain, swelling or discomfort.
- Bleeding while brushing and/or flossing.
- Red, irritated mucous tissue around the implant.
- Implant mobility.
Are There Any Risk Factors Associated with Developing Peri-Implantitis?
Yes, there are several risk factors that can make an individual more likely to develop this infection.
Risk factors include:
- Uncontrolled periodontitis.
- The use of nicotine-containing substances, especially cigarettes (traditional and electric).
- A history of periodontitis.
- An uncontrolled systemic disease (e.g., diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), etc.).
- The inability to adequately remove plaque.
- Regular alcohol consumption.
Tips for Preventing Peri-Implantitis
Clear Up Existing Infections Before Implant Therapy
Since the onset of peri-implantitis is especially concerning directly following implant placement, patients who have periodontal disease must address this infection before implant therapy can begin.
Individuals who smoke traditional cigarettes and/or e-cigarettes are more susceptible to developing an infection because the nicotine in these products causes the blood-carrying vessels to contract, which slows blood flow. As the gingival tissue and bone try to heal after surgery, the lack of oxygen and nutrients caused by the decrease in blood flow, greatly inhibits the healing process. Thus, increasing the patient’s risk of developing an infection like peri-implantitis.
Practice Excellent Dental Hygiene
Practicing good dental hygiene involves removing the plaque, which is the sticky film that adheres to the teeth and houses bacteria before it hardens into calculus (aka tartar). Once the plaque hardens into tartar, it can only be removed by a dental professional.
Excellent dental hygiene includes brushing twice a day at two-minute intervals (preferably, morning and night), flossing at least once a day and using mouthwash can make a huge difference in the health of the natural teeth, the areas surrounding the dental implant(s) and the mouth in general.
Do Not Forget About Bi-Annual Cleanings
Plaque that has turned into tartar is removed at these bi-annual cleanings; therefore, it is essential that individuals who have dental implants remain just as vigilant about having their teeth cleaned as those who still have their natural teeth.
If you need cosmetic and/or restorative dentistry services, contact Sarasota Implant today at 941-256-2488 to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Kenneth M. Schweizer at his office in Sarasota, Florida. For 30 years, Dr. Schweizer has been helping people love their smile.