One of the many benefits of implanted teeth is that they function just like your natural teeth. But in the same way that a natural tooth can suffer from diseases caused by bacteria build-up, so can an implanted tooth. But don’t be alarmed; with a good cleaning routine, your implants can last a lifetime.
Peri-implant diseases are caused by bacteria becoming established under the gum line. The bacteria cause inflammation of the gum tissue and, if untreated, this adversely affects the bone structure that is anchoring the implant. There are two kinds of peri-implant disease: peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis.
Peri-implant mucositis is limited to the soft tissues that surround the implant. With this condition, the bone is not affected and if it is treated early, the mucositis can be reversed. However, if it is not treated effectively, it can lead to peri-implantitis.
In peri-implantitis, the inflammation in the soft tissue of the gums progresses and affects the bone which supports the implanted tooth. This condition normally needs surgical treatment.
The gum around the implanted tooth may feel sore and tender, with signs of inflammation. The gum may bleed when you are brushing your teeth. As with normal teeth, prevention is far better than cure. You should maintain good oral health habits, including brushing and flossing. It’s essential to have regular appointments with a dentist who can spot the warning signs early on and take action to prevent the disease progressing.
If you have pre-existing gum disease; you have significant levels of plaque on your teeth; you smoke; you suffer from diabetes; or you have some other systemic conditions, it’s even more important to have your implants assessed regularly for peri-implant disease as part of a general oral and dental check-up.