Dental Implant Infection: What You Need To Know About Peri-Implantitis

Dentist Blog

Are you considering dental implants to replace missing teeth? Dental implants have a 98% success rate, offering permanence and low maintenance. However, before getting your implants you should know about peri-implantitis, a condition that could pose a risk to your mouth three to five years down the road. Although sometimes this type of infection can develop as a result of contamination at the time of surgery, many times it can be prevented through good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups. Read on for the information you need.

Dental implant basics

Your dentist has probably explained how dental implants work. During surgery, a hole is drilled into your gum down to the jawbone. A titanium rod will be placed in your bone, affixed to a post that sticks up out of your gum. A crown will be placed on the post and cemented into place, and no one has to be wiser that this is not your natural tooth.


Peri-implantitis is a condition in which the soft tissue (gums) and hard tissue (bone) become inflamed due to infection around the site of a dental implant. Doctors aren't sure whether the infection causes the erosion of tissue or whether the harm to the tissue facilitates infection. The condition is preceded only by subtle signs that the average person can miss. Unless the situation is diagnosed early on and treated, patients can suffer irreversible bone loss.

Warning signs

Here are the early warning signs that your implant might be infected:

  • swelling of the gums

  • change in gum coloration near implant site

  • bleeding while brushing

  • sensitivity of gums

If you notice these signs, see your dentist right away for an examination. This stage of infection is called peri-implantitis mucositis, and it is not only common (occurring in as many as 48% of implants), but very treatable. However, if you do not notice and address the condition early on, it progresses to peri-implantitis. At this point, you will also be experiencing

  • pain (mild to severe)

  • looseness of the implant

  • moderate bleeding while brushing

  • receding gums that expose the implant

  • discharge from the implant site

At this point, intervention will include intensive cleaning (called scaling), pocket cleaning, and, in rare cases, bone grafting.

How can you prevent dental implant infection? Maintain a rigorous oral hygiene regimen and see your dentist twice a year. Watch for the early warning signs described above, and don't hesitate to call a dentist like John S. Lyon DDS if anything about your implant seems questionable. Peri-implantitis is reversible if quickly diagnosed and promptly treated, so don't let its possibility prevent you from scheduling your implant surgery. Dental implants remain a highly advisable option to replace missing teeth.



29 January 2015

Dentistry for the Whole Family

Do you have a different doctor from your spouse? Does your child see a pediatrician? Most families have different medical health providers for different members of the family. This makes sense in most cases, but did you know that you can find a dentist who will treat every person in the family from a baby to a senior? I'm a manager or a family dentist, and in this blog you will learn why a family dentist is a great idea. I will tell you the many advantages of taking every family member to the same dentist, and I will give you tips of finding the right dental office for your family.