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Peri-Implantitis, What You Need To Know

Peri-implantitis is a condition that affects patients who have had dental implant procedures done. It starts as a bacteria that forms in the gums around the implant. In many ways, it is similar to gum disease in that it causes damage to the gums and teeth around it. Getting dental implants, however, does not mean that you are going to get peri-implantitis. It is avoidable and easily treatable if caught quickly. In early stages of Peri-Implantitis, the symptoms are relatively mild. Most experience swollen gums, leading to tenderness and sensitivity in the mouth. The longer the infection goes untreated, however, the more serious the side effects will become. Ultimately, dental implants can be lost and bone structure damaged. It is crucial to have an experienced and detail oriented Periodontist in charge of your dental implant procedures from start to finish. At Arizona Periodontal Group, we go to great lengths to minimize bacterial exposure during procedures. Our definition of success is not just having you walk out of our office with a great smile, but being happy with that smile for years to come.

We aim to provide a gentle touch with stunning results that last a lifetime!

“To protect your gums from peri-implantitis, the Arizona Periodontal Group offers peri-implantitis treatment as part of our periodontal services”

Knowledge is Power

Whether you’re looking for peri-implantitis treatment in Phoenix or dental implants in Phoenix, understanding and recognizing this bacterial infection is the first step to ensuring it does not affect you. While it is rare for our patients to experience post-op infections, a variety of circumstances can introduce harmful bacteria into the gums around dental implants. Knowing what to watch out for and scheduling a consultation as soon as you notice any of these symptoms will significantly improve your chances of a healthy recovery and continued wellness.

  1. Inflammation causes redness, swelling, and pain of the gum tissue around the implants.
  2. Receding gum line. The "pocket" of gum that the implant has been placed into grows bigger and deeper.
  3. Exposure or visibility of the implant threads.
  4. Loosening of the implant.
  5. Pus discharge from within the gums around the implant. It may be a very unpleasant taste rather than something you see.
  6. Bone deterioration is usually unseen but painful. Often felt as soreness in the jaw.
  7. Bleeding occurs when the gums are infected. There are no situations where bleeding gums are healthy or to be expected.
  8. Swollen or tender lymph nodes around the neck or armpits.

If you feel that your daily life is being affected by pain or discomfort around your dental implants, call us immediately to schedule an appointment. Pain or sensitivity while chewing, drinking, exercising, moving your head into different positions, headaches, soreness or stiffness in the jaw is not healthy and indicates a problem and needs to be looked at by our Periodontist as soon as possible.

It is important to remember that while these more severe symptoms are real risks, they only happen when peri-implantitis is left untreated for significant amounts of time. When caught early and provided adequate supervision from a competent dentist, peri-implantitis can be treated before it ever causes undue discomfort or embarrassment.

How Does Peri-Implantitis Begin?

The primary sources of peri-implantitis are:

  1. Compromised Immune System: Patients affected by a disease that affects the whole body is at a higher risk to peri-implantitis. If you have diabetes or another systemic illness, consult with your dentist about dental implants. At Dental Partners of Boston, we understand how these diseases affect peri-implantitis, and we can adjust our treatment accordingly. Additionally, if patients have ever had a different type of mouth infection similar to peri-implantitis - they may be at a higher risk. Bring it to your dentist’s attention if you have ever contracted periodontitis extensive gum disease or other bacterial mouth infections.
  2. Insufficient Dental Care: peri-implantitis is caused primarily by the bacteria and food particles that gradually accumulate around dental implants and gum lines. Careful and consistent dental care is needed in order to minimize and eliminate harmful pathogens, which are found in plaque and tartar. As with most other dental conditions, peri-implantitis can be made worse by smoking, alcohol and drug use. Consult your Periodontist for more information on how to adopt healthy dental habits.
  3. Parafunctional Habits: these are involuntary habits you may have. They can be due to malformation of part of your body or a nervous tick. They can even occur unconsciously during sleep. Habits like grinding your teeth in your sleep, poorly positioning your teeth when your jaw is closed, nail-biting and others.

Peri-Implantitis Treatment Options

At Arizona Periodontal Group our immediate priority is to prevent bacterial infections from occurring. However, when patients come to us with advanced cases, our long-term goal is to stop the progression of bone loss and keep their implants in place. In addition to thorough cleaning of the infected area with the proper dental tools, antibiotics will often be prescribed to kill off the remaining unhealthy bacteria within your gums and bone. Antibiotics may also be applied directly to the implant itself as well.

Most severe cases of peri-implantitis require removal of the implant and bone grafting to replace the damaged bone. To do this, your gums will need to be opened and the infection fully detoxified. Before new bone can be grafted onto the implant, your Periodontist must be confident that all of the infection can be eliminated. Most often this means strong antibiotics.

The type of bone that is used and its physiology are critical, but there are no guarantees of success. There are many variables that contribute to a graftings success or failure. Having a team of specialists from Dental Partners of Boston on your side who lead the industry in advanced procedures, techniques and methods can significantly improve your chances of success.

Does It Matter What Periodontist You Use?

Our team of Periodontist specialists treats many patients suffering from this condition. Unfortunately, many of our patients were treated outside our office by less skilled Periodontists or at "affordable" treatment centers. Correction of dental implants with issues should be performed by a dentist who routinely performs this procedure.

There are a few common mistakes that Periodontists make that can lead to problems down the road for dental implant recipients. Occasionally we will find a loose abutment screw which may not have been appropriately placed, or it broke. Patients with a heavy bite can cause that. Heavy biters need to have their crowns appropriately designed by an experienced professional from the beginning to protect the implants. How the crown is made is extremely important to the longevity of the dental implant in the bone. Patients often view this step as minor, but it is significant. Some low-budget implants have poorly designed screws or have micro motion when you chew, allowing food and bacteria to enter.

Call Today To Schedule A Consultation

If you are looking for a Periodontist in the Phoenix area, contact Dr. Trujillo. At Arizona Periodontal Group, we understand that proper oral health is connected to overall health. Getting successful dental implants that last for years with minimal risk begins here! If you think you might be experiencing peri-implantitis symptoms, please don’t hesitate to call us right away. If you have any questions or concerns about periodontal issues or procedures, we are here to help you.

Start your day with a beautiful smile.

When you visit our office, your oral health is our top priority. Dr. Trujillo and his entire team is dedicated to providing you with the personalized, gentle care that you deserve.