If you are considering dental implants, it’s important to do your research. If you’ve started this research, you’ve probably heard of peri-implantitis. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find the information you really need to know about this condition. Some dismiss it while others talk about it in apocalyptic terms. However, peri-implantitis is just a dental condition that can easily be understood and managed.

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It’s Gum Disease for Implants

The most important thing to understand about peri-implantitis is that it’s just gum disease for dental implants.

The technical term for gum disease is periodontal disease. This comes from the Greek words “peri” for “around” and “dont” for teeth. It’s a condition that affects the gums and bone around your teeth. It occurs when oral bacteria infect the space between your teeth and gums. The negative effects of it include receding gums and bone loss. Oral bacteria cause some of the effects, but your body also causes problems when it tries to respond to the infection.

Peri-implantitis is very similar. The word means around the implant, and it’s caused by the same thing: oral bacteria. Some studies show that different bacteria might be responsible, but the effects are the same.

It Can Take Two Forms

Just as periodontal disease is often described as two different conditions, gingivitis and periodontitis, some dentists describe peri-implantitis as being two different conditions. For gum disease, we call these conditions gingivitis, a minor form that includes red, sensitive gums, and periodontitis, where your gums can start to recede in part because you’re losing bone around your teeth.

Some dentists describe mucositis as the minor form of peri-implantitis, where your gums get red and tender around your dental implant. They reserve the term peri-implantitis for when your gums start to recede around your implants because of bone loss.

It’s Common

Just as gum disease affects most Americans, peri-implantitis affects most people with dental implants. Studies vary, but some studies say that as much as 56% of people with dental implants may have peri-implantitis.

As with periodontal disease, though, most cases are minor.

It’s the Leading Cause of Implant Failure

Most dental implants are initially successful. Of those that are successful, the vast majority stay in place, healthy and functional, for decades.

However, when dental implants fail, it is usually because of peri-implantitis. More than half of all implants that fail after successfully integrating with your bone fail because of peri-implantitis. Even if we factor in a failure to integrate, peri-implantitis remains the leading cause of implant failure.

It’s Treatable

If you’re diagnosed with peri-implantitis, it’s no cause for panic. The condition is treatable, and most affected implants can be saved, if we detect the problem early enough and use a good treatment plan.

First, you can reduce your risk of peri-implantitis by using proper oral hygiene and other prevention techniques. Next, keep a close eye on the health of your implants. If you notice problems, contact your implant dentist.

And don’t forget to make regular dental visits after you get your implants. We can check the health of your implants and might be able to see problems that you might not notice. The earlier we detect your peri-implantitis, the more successful treatment can be.

Usually, treatment is just a slightly different oral hygiene routine. Sometimes, though, we might have to remove a dental crown, denture, or bridge to help your implant heal.

If we have to remove your implant, we can usually place a new implant in the location, after a short time for healing.

Considering Dental Implants in Columbia, SC?

If you are considering dental implants in Columbia, SC, we can answer all your questions so you can make an informed decision.

Please call (803) 781-9090 today for an appointment with implant dentist Dr. Adam Hahn at Smile Columbia Dentistry.