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Peri-Implant Diseases

Prevention is the Best Cure for Peri-implant Diseases

The latest dentistry for dental implants includes diagnosis and treatment of peri-implant diseases. There are two types of peri-implant disease including peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis. They both have symptoms similar to gum disease in which the natural teeth are present.

  • Peri-implant Mucositis

This is a gum inflammation that is in the soft gum tissue of the dental implant. It shows no sign of bone or hard tissue gum loss similar to gingivitis and is considered reversible if caught early.

  • Peri-implantitis

This is similar to periodontitis. It not only has soft gum tissue inflammation, but also hard tissue inflammation and, possibly, bone loss in the surrounding bone that holds the implant. Treatment usually requires surgery.


The symptoms are similar to gum disease including tender or red gums around the implants. Brushing, chewing hard food and flossing may cause bleeding, and the gums may look like they are receding, leaving more of the implant exposed. Extreme symptoms may be loose teeth, persistent bad breath and pus in between teeth.


People with implants need to care for them in the same way they care for their natural teeth. This means regular tooth brushing, flossing and regular check-ups from a dentist. Smoking is the top preventable cause of the disease. Some other risk factors for developing peri-implant disease include:

  • Previous periodontal disease diagnosis
  • Diabetes
  • Weakened immune system
  • Genetic disorders
  • Herpes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Vitamin C deficiency
  • Poor plaque control

Plaque Control

Plaque occurs naturally from bacteria in the mouth and is easily controlled by regular dental care. However, without this care, bacteria can build up in the mouth, between the teeth and gums and on the surface of the teeth. When the plaque remains on the teeth and gums for some time it gets hard and is called tartar. Experts in dental implantology recognize that meticulous plaque control is absolutely necessary to prevent peri-implant diseases. This is especially true for people who smoke and/or have a history of periodontal disease. Periodic monitoring to evaluate the condition of the implant is also essential.

It is recommended that every dental professional who offers dentistry for dental implants update their knowledge on the diagnosis, monitoring, management, and, as far as possible, do research into the origins of the diseases.


Several studies suggest that there is a relationship between diabetes and periodontal diseases. In some cases, non-surgical treatments may not be enough to improve glycemic control for type 2 diabetes patients. Evidence has shown that more intensive therapies may be effective in glycemic control. The non-surgical treatment failed to cure the periodontal disease, which may be the reason there was no impact on the glycemic control.

Patients with diabetes should get a comprehensive periodontal evaluation of their implants every year that especially assesses any risk factors that indicate the disease could develop. A treatment plan will be customized for each individual that may be either surgical or non-surgical.

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