Peri-Implantitis: Part One


In the last few blogs, we dealt with infant thumb sucking and pacifier usage. In the next two, we are actually going to reverse directions…we’ll discuss an issue that may arise with dental implants; more of an adult problem.

With adult teeth, come adult problems. One issue that we discussed in the past is periodontal disease. Please see the blog, “Periodontal Disease … What exactly is it?” posted on March 2nd, 2012.

In a nutshell, periodontal disease is a breakdown of the supporting structures of the teeth. More specifically, the bone and soft tissue (gum), that anchor the roots of the teeth into the jaw bone. The affected teeth become loose and eventually need to be removed. The destruction of the supporting tissue occurs because of inflammation caused by bacteria invading the space that attaches the roots of the teeth to the bone.

The dental implant

As was seen in the blog, “Dental Implants … A Great Solution for a Missing Tooth,” posted on October 9th, 2011, a dental implant is used to replace a missing tooth. Implants are very successful. They are made up of titanium, which forms an irreversible bond with the bone.

Dental Implants are generally carried out in two stages. The first is implant placement into the bone. This is a painless process using routine local anaesthetic. The implants are left dormant to integrate into the bone for six months. After this amount of time, we can then build a tooth upon the implant. This portion of the implant that we can ‘see’ in an individual’s mouth is called an abutment or superstructure.

Between the actual implant and abutment are micro gaps. If bacteria get into these gaps, they can result in an inflammatory process. This can lead to a destruction of the hard and soft tissue that supports the implant. This is known as peri-implantitis.

The above image shows implants that have peri-implantitis associated with them. Sorry about the graphic nature of the photo, but it does get the point across. As you can see, there is no bone surrounding the screw portion of the implant…in health, there should be.

Other symptoms of peri-implantitis

Peri-implantitis is not just characterized by a loss of bone and soft tissue that supports the implant.
– It may also be accompanied by bleeding when we ‘probe’ the area with a dental instrument (also known as a periodontal probe).
– There may also be ‘suppuration’ or pus exuding from the area.
– In addition, we can usually probe quite ‘deep’ with the periodontal probe mentioned above. For more information on the periodontal probe, please see the blog, “Pocketing Measurements,” posted on October 8th 2012.

In the next blog, we will look at the factors that predispose one to a bacterial invasion and ultimately peri-implantitis. In addition we will discuss treatment options…until then.

Dr. F. Keshavarz Dentistry, Dentist in Brampton, ON

For any dental questions or concerns, please give us a call today @ 905.791.3867…you’ll be glad you did!

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