Replacing missing teeth with dental implants is a big decision that can give you life-changing benefits. Implants permanently replace missing teeth in the strongest, most natural-looking way and allow you to eat all the foods you enjoy. They eliminate the need for ill-fitting dentures and messy adhesives. The last thing you want to worry about is peri-implantitis, an infection that could cause your dental implants to fail.

At ARCHPOINT Implant Dentistry in Dallas and Fort Worth, we pride ourselves on providing the highest level of quality implant dentistry in the metroplex. We understand that the decision to get dental implants is not an easy one to make. Not only are dental implants somewhat of an investment, there is also surgery involved and final results often take months to achieve. With all the effort that goes into replacing your teeth with implants, ARCHPOINT specialists want to make sure they last a lifetime. That’s why we educate patients about proper care and maintenance, to avoid complications like peri-implantitis.

Peri-Implantitis And Implant Failure

Peri-implantitis is a condition that affects patients with dental implants and can lead to implant failure if left untreated. Similar to periodontal disease, peri-implantitis attacks the bone tissue that supports your dental implants. This condition is caused by the build-up of harmful bacteria around and under the gum tissue surrounding a dental implant. 

Your mouth is exposed to bacteria throughout your day, if this bacteria is not removed it begins to cause inflammation of your gum tissue. As this inflammation persists, a bacterial infection forms which can then begin to not only damage your gingival tissue but destroy the bone that holds your implants in place! Having dental implants does not mean that you are going to get peri-implantitis, however. It is completely avoidable and easily treatable if caught early. The implant experts at ARCHPOINT want you to keep your implants for a lifetime. 

Causes of Peri-Implantitis

While bacteria are the source of peri-implantitis, there are several risk factors that may increase your chances of this condition occurring. 

Lack Of Good Home Care 

As with natural teeth, daily brushing and flossing are recommended to disrupt the collection of bacteria in our mouths. Unlike teeth, dental implants do not decay. They are made of titanium and are nearly indestructible. However, the supporting gum and bone tissue need to be healthy to keep your dental implants anchored to the bone. When bacteria is left to irritate the gum tissue, your risk of peri-implantitis drastically increases. 

Compromised Immune System 

Certain illnesses such as cancer or diabetes can lower your body’s immune response system. These illnesses affect the whole body including your mouth. Medications used to treat certain illnesses can also affect your immune system, putting you at risk for developing peri-implantitis.

If you lost your teeth due to periodontal disease or other mouth infections, be sure to discuss this information with our implant specialists. You may also be at a higher risk for peri-implantitis.

Symptoms of Peri-Implantitis

During the early stages of peri-implantitis, symptoms are generally mild; they may not even be noticeable until the condition worsens. The most common symptom to first experience is inflammation of the gum tissue including redness, swelling, and pain in the tissue around the implants. 

As peri-implantitis worsens, these symptoms worsen as well as bleeding of the gingival tissue, and in some cases a pimple-like lesion, which produces a terrible-tasting discharge. You may also feel swollen or tender lymph nodes in your neck or underarm.

When left untreated, pain and infection begin to reach the surrounding bone tissue as the condition continues to worsen. Jaw bone begins to resorb away from the implants, eventually causing the implants to become loose. This deterioration of bone tissue is painless. Ultimately, after bone tissue is destroyed, your implant will fail and need to be removed. 

Treatment for Peri-Implantitis

While our top priority is to prevent infection from occurring, the specialists at ARCHPOINT use their extensive training and state-of-the-art technology to provide the highest quality treatment of peri-implantitis. When caught and treated in its earlier stages, the progression of peri-implantitis can be stopped, preserving remaining bone tissue and keeping implants in place. 

Similar to the treatment of periodontal disease, peri-implantitis is first treated with a thorough, deep cleaning. This is usually performed by a periodontist. Local anesthetic is utilized to keep you comfortable while built-up, calcified bacteria is cleaned from below the gumline. 

LANAP or LAPIP, also known as Laser-Asisted Peri-Implantitis Protocol, is also performed by a periodontist. TLAPIP utilizes laser therapy to safely kill bacteria and unhealthy tissue without damaging healthy gingiva or bone.  This unique laser therapy is small enough to fit between the implant and the tissue and is able to distinguish between good and bad bacteria. LAPIP is very effective in treating peri-implantitis in a minimally invasive manner.

In more severe cases, surgical removal of the infected implant and all damaged tissue is necessary. Since removing the implant will leave a large void in bone tissue, bone grafting is necessary before a new implant can be placed. When implant failure occurs, you can expect months of healing before a new implant can be placed. 

Prevention Of Peri-implantitis

The implant experts at ARCHPOINT Implant Dentistry want you to keep your implants for a lifetime. In order to do that, prevention is key! Maintaining good home care daily to remove harmful bacteria is essential to preventing peri-implantitis. The use of a soft bristle brush, non-abrasive toothpaste, super-floss, and even a water flosser are typically recommended to properly clean your dental implants and surrounding gum tissue. 

Frequent preventative care appointments are also necessary to ensure your dental implants stay healthy. These appointments include a professional dental cleaning, digital radiographs, and a thorough dental examination to monitor your current oral health status.

ARCHPOINT Is Your Expert In Dental Implants

Contact us today if you would like to discuss your dental implant options. If you feel discomfort around your dental implants, contact ARCHPOINT to schedule a visit with our implant experts. We have two conveniently located offices in Dallas and Fort Worth, providing comprehensive implant therapy regardless of where you live in DFW.