Can you imagine an architect starting to build a house without having studied the land; i.e. its strength, consistency and slope, and without having finished the plans? The entire complex process requires prior planning if it is to be a success. That’s why, at our clinic we always carry out a detailed study with a scanner before fitting a dental implant.
This means that, if the patient has a gum disease, we will start by healing the tissue before proceeding to fit the implant. However, the tissue around the implant can also become inflamed once osseointegration has taken place, even to the extent of causing its rejection.
Here we explain peri-implant diseases and how you can prevent them in order to keep your implant in good health for as long as possible.
What are peri-implant diseases?
We talk about peri-implant diseases when dental plaque accumulates around the tissue surrounding the implant and causes it to progressively deteriorate. This can occur in two stages:
● Mucositis: this is the initial state of peri-implant disease. At this stage, the gums start to swell and take on a reddish colour, while the patient will find that their gums are painful when brushing their teeth.
● Peri-implant disease: this is the most advanced stage of this oral pathology. Peri-implant disease develops similar to piorrhea: on progressing, the infection gradually destroys the tissue holding the dental implant in place.
Bone loss makes it easy to diagnose the problem: in cases of advanced peri-implant disease, the gums retract and the implant becomes visible beneath the dental crown.
To treat peri-implant diseases, it is sometimes necessary to start by removing the dental implant. We then completely treat the bacteria responsible for generating the infection and, if necessary, regenerate the damaged bone and tissue. We later fit a new implant, normally wider, although sometimes if there is not enough bone, it may be possible to fit a narrower and perhaps longer implant.
How can peri-implant disease be prevented?
The best way to keep your implants in good condition and guarantee that they continue to do their job for many years to come is to take good care of your daily dental hygiene.
You must clean your implants the same way as you do the rest of your teeth, as follows:
● Brush your teeth every day, after every meal.
● Use accessories such as silicone soft-picks to get into every corner and completely remove all traces of leftover food.
● Visit your dentist at least once or twice a year for a professional clean to prevent tartar from building up.
● Try not to smoke. Smoking slows the tissue healing process and can even cause rejection of the implant.
It is also very important for the implant to be fitted by a qualified professional. Dr. JM Arizala is a specialist in dental implants and a member of the International Team for Implantology (ITI), one of the leading academic organisations in the field of implantology research.
Visit our dental clinic in San Sebastian if you have a problem of any kind with your dental implants or if you want to have an implant fitted to replace a lost tooth. See you soon!