You might think that your dental implant surgery was a success; however, there may a time bomb just waiting to explode. Peri-implantitis is prevalent in about 16% of all cases of dental implant installation. It is better defined as inflammation of the tissues surrounding the dental implants that will result in gradual, progressive bone loss. Ultimately, peri-implantitis will cause dental implant failure and can only be corrected with surgery.
Be On The Lookout For The Precursor — Peri-Implant Mucositis
Peri-implant mucositis is the precursor of peri-implantitis, and involves inflammation of the tissues surrounding the dental implants. At this time, no bone loss is observed. Patients can expect red and tender tissues and also bleeding at a probing depth of over 4mm. If you find that the tissues surrounding the dental implant exhibit any of these signs or if there is profuse bleeding present when you brush your teeth, then you may be exhibiting symptoms of peri-implant mucositis. Most dental surgeons will be on the lookout for this condition after the dental implants have been installed. The reason why a strong emphasis is being placed on being on the lookout for the precursor lies in the fact that peri implant mucositis can be easily treated.
Identifying The Symptoms Of Peri-Implantitis
Some patients who have peri-implantitis do not even realize the severity of their situation until it is simply too late. If you have completely missed the precursor, then some common symptoms to be on the lookout for will include:
Identifying the symptoms can be difficult. Some patients are so unfamiliar with dental implants that they are unsure of what to be on the lookout for. As a result, most experts recommend leaving the diagnosis to the professionals. Just make sure that you don't miss a dental appointment, and you'll be good to go.
Surgical Therapy For Correcting Peri-Implantitis
If you are unable to correct or treat the precursor and peri-implantitis has developed, then the only course of treatment that is left available is surgical therapy accompanied with antimicrobial treatment.
At first, the bacterial accumulation that has caused the peri-implantitis will need to be removed in order to prevent further harm from happening. This can generally be achieved by applying a topical ointment containing 0.12% chlorhexidine for every 8 to 12 hours for 15 days straight. This will generally be effective in killing off all of the bacteria.
Once the affected area is cleaned thoroughly, an open flap procedure coupled with antimicrobial treatments to prevent regrowth of the bacterial colonies will normal be recommended. An open flap procedure typically involves either smoothing and reshaping the teeth roots and jawbone, so that the bacteria has fewer places to grow, or grafting the jawbone with other man-made materials in an attempt to increase overall height. This will help support and stabilize the dental implant that has just been installed.
Once the surgical treatment for peri-implantitis has been performed, patients need to be more wary of their dental hygiene habits in an attempt to prevent the situation from happening again. Some studies have also noted that smoking can increase chances of peri-implantitis developing. By making healthier lifestyle choices, peri-implantitis can be avoided altogether for better dental health. To prevent peri-implantitis from developing, make sure that you go to all of your followup dental appointments in order to increase your chances of detecting peri-implant mucositis early on, so that a non-surgical treatment option is available.
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