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Evolution of peri-implantitis: (a) good peri-implant health; (b) peri-implant mucositis; (c) peri-implantitis

1. What is peri-implantitis?

Peri-implantitis is the progressive loss of the peri-implant bone (Latin for "around") as a result of an inflammatory reaction. This infectious disease is caused by bacteria that enter the cavity between the dental implant and the gum.

2. Before peri-implantitis, peri-implant mucositis

Peri-implantitis is preceded by peri-implant mucositis, which affects only the soft tissue, leaving the bone tissue intact. To prevent it from progressing to peri-implantitis, please see your dentist if you have red, swollen gums that bleed to the touch. It is not necessarily painful.

3. What are the symptoms of peri-implantitis?

The characteristic signs of peri-implantitis are

  • the presence of plaque

  • the presence of pus

  • bad breath and/or bad taste in the mouth

  • inflammation of the peri-implant mucosa (swelling of the gums)

  • increased sensitivity

  • shrinkage of the gum tissue until the implant is visible

  • dull pain or fever

  • bleeding during a probing test at the implantologist's office, indicating the presence of signs of active inflammation

  • in an advanced stage of the disease, mobility of the implant possibly due to pus creation (suppuration) and/or bone loss around the implant (visible on X-ray)

Untreated, it can lead to the loss of the implant.

4. What causes peri-implantitis?

The main causes of peri-implantitis are

  • poor oral hygiene which can lead to the development of plaque encouraging pathogenic germs

  • an excess of cement in the case of cemented prostheses (we only place screwed prostheses in order to avoid this problem)

  • the implant itself, in particular its design, its surface condition, the material (we only place Swiss implants of the Straumann brand)

  • a history of periodontitis

  • bruxism (unconscious jaw movement, either clenching or lateral movement, e.g. grinding of teeth) adding pressure to the implant

  • systemic diseases such as diabetes or osteoporosis

  • smoking

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