Dental Implant Disease

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What is Dental Implant Disease?
Dental implants have many benefits—most notably, they can function just like a patient’s natural teeth.Dental implant surgery offers a strong, sturdy solution to missing teeth because they are implanted into the gum tissue and are anchored by the supporting bone in the patient's jaw.

The lesser-known downside to this restorative dental procedure is that implants can become diseased just like a natural teeth.

Peri-implant disease is a type of periodontal disease characterized by a chronic infection that causes inflammation in the tissues and bone structure surrounding the implant. If these complications are not treated, it may result in bone loss or loss of the implant and/or crown, making it much more difficult to place a second implant in the same location. Additionally, peri-implant disease may spread to adjacent teeth and gum tissue and jeopardize the patient’s overall dental health and wellbeing.
Getting dental implants, however, does not mean that you are going to get disease. Peri-implant disease is avoidable and easily treatable if caught quickly. In the early stages of implant disease the symptoms are relatively mild. But the longer the infection goes untreated, the more serious the side effects will become.
Ultimately, if dental implants aren’t properly cared for, they can be lost and bone structure can become damaged.

What causes peri-implant diseases?
There are several factors that may contribute to the development of peri-implant diseases. Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of implant disease. Poor oral health allows bacteria to build up around the implant and surrounding tissues. Additionally, if the implant procedure was not done correctly or the dental implant placement was incorrect, it may be more difficult to keep the area clean, which can also contribute to disease.

Smoking is also a risk factor for developing peri-implant disease, as it can damage the immune system.

Peri-Implant Disease is Classified into Two Categories

Peri-Implant Mucositis

Peri-implant mucositis is where gum inflammation is found only around the soft tissues of the dental implant, with no signs of bone loss. Generally, peri-implant mucositis is a precursor to peri-implantitis. Peri-implant mucositis can be successfully treated and is reversible if caught early.

Peri-Implantitis

The next stage of peri-implant disease , peri-implantitis, is more severe. Peri-implantitis starts when oral bacteria begins breaking down the gums around the implant. It is similar to gum disease in that it causes damage to the gums and teeth around it. This gum inflammation is found around the soft tissue and there is deterioration in the bone supporting the dental implant. Peri-implantitis usually requires surgical treatment.

What are the risks of a frenectomy?

If you have dental implants and experience any of the following symptoms, contact our office so we can schedule an examination:

  • Fracture of the restorative materials (crown, screw, or abutment)
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Poor positioning of the implant
  • Aesthetic problems
  • Phonetic problems
  • Loosening of the implant crown or of the implant itself
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Receding gums
  • Persistent pain or discomfort
  • Deepening gum pockets around the implant
  • Exposed implant threads
  • Bleeding gums
  • Pus around the implant
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Tissue inflammation (Redness, bleeding, etc) around the implant
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes around the neck 
  • Pain or sensitivity while chewing and/or drinking
  • Persistent soreness or stiffness in the jaw

These are all signs that you could be suffering from dental implant disease. It is crucial to treat the problem early so it doesn’t lead to additional complications. 

Additional Complications: Loose Dental Implant

While a loose implant is rare, it most often occurs during the first year due to failed bonding of the implant to the jawbone. This can also happen years after being placed, usually due to gum disease and bone loss. When an implant becomes loose, Dr. Karapetian may recommend removing the entire implant, treating the underlying infection, and then performing a bone graft to ensure you have enough healthy jawbone to support implants.

What happens if dental implant complications are untreated?

Without proper treatment, dental implant complications can affect everything from your bite and ability to chew to your overall health. Inflammation surrounding the implant is especially dangerous, as it can lead to the degradation of the teeth and jaw. You can lose your dental implants altogether and may only be able to use bridges or dentures to regain function.

Most severe cases of peri-implantitis require removal of the implant and bone grafting to replace the damaged bone. To do this, the infection must be fully detoxified. Before new bone can be grafted onto the implant, your Periodontist must be confident that all the infection can be eliminated. 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 grafting’s success or failure.

Additional Complications: Loose Dental ImplantWe Can Treat Complications With Your Dental Implants, Including Peri-Implant Disease

It is important to maintain good oral hygiene and keep up with regular dental check-ups after any dental implant procedures. If you think you may be suffering from peri-implant diseases, give us a call right away.

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OFFICE LOCATION
9004 Crownwood Ct., Suite A
Burke, Virginia 22015
OFFICE HOURS
Monday: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
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Friday: Closed
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed
Schedule Your Appointment ›Talk to a Treatment Coordinator: 703-569-4040 
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