Peri-implantitis is the term used to refer to gum (periodontal) problems around dental implants. In many ways it is very similar to periodontal disease (advanced gum disease) that affects the gums around natural teeth. If you notice any symptoms of this condition, it is imperative that you see us as soon as possible.
In a similar way to how periodontal disease is always preceded by the milder form of gum disease, gingivitis, peri-implantitis is preceded by a milder condition called peri-implant mucositis. Again like gingivitis, this milder condition is easier to treat, and patients with implants should remain alert to early warning signs. Symptoms of peri-implant mucositis include gums that are red and swollen (often without pain), and which bleed when brushed or probed. Pockets may also form as the attachment between the soft tissue and the titanium abutment weakens. At this stage, however, the underlying bone is unaffected and there is no pus.
Peri-implant mucositis is easily treatable and is usually addressed with topical antibiotics and antimicrobial solutions. Investigations will also be made into the underlying cause to prevent it recurring.
Left untreated, peri-implant mucositis may develop into peri-implantitis, which is more serious, affects the bone, and requires more extensive treatment. Peri-implantitis is destructive and can cause bone loss. It affects both soft and hard tissues around your implants. There will also be pus around the site of infection.
Our Specialist Periodontist, Dr Pedja Pavlovic, is very experienced in treating peri-implantitis. Initial treatment may be similar to that of peri-implant mucositis, irrigating under the gum with antimicrobial agents and applying local antibiotics under the gums and into any pockets that have formed. For more advanced or serious cases, surgical intervention may be necessary, which Dr Pavlovic can carry out at the Clinic under local anaesthesia or sedation.
As with any dental condition, we believe prevention is better than cure. To help avoid this condition, you should:
- Maintain an excellent oral hygiene regime, following your Dentist/Hygienist’s advice
- Visit your Dentist for regular check-ups
- Report any problems straight away
- Look after your implants just like you would your regular teeth
- Avoid smoking