Peri-implantitis and the Importance of Dental Hygiene


Dental implants have revolutionized oral medicine and offered an excellent treatment option to those with tooth loss and tooth decay. However, as with all medical and dental procedures, complications are a possibility even if the procedure was executed perfectly.

In the case of dental implants, serious complications are very rare. One of the most common complications, though, is peri-implantitis, the inflammation of gum tissue and bone around the implant site of the mouth. Peri-implantitis can appear shortly after an implant or years after the procedure took place.

Symptoms of Peri-implantitis

The signs and symptoms of peri-implantitis vary greatly in severity from patient to patient but may include:

  • Pus in the area of the implant.
  • Bleeding gums around the implant.
  • Deepening gum pockets.
  • Exposure of the metal stem of the implant.
  • Loose implant.
  • A “long-looking” tooth implant.
  • Tenderness or achiness in the implant area.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
  • A bad taste in your mouth.

Note that peri-implantitis can be completely asymptomatic. It can also be easy to ignore subtle symptoms of the disease. For this reason, it is vital that you regularly visit your dentist if you have implants.

Peri-implantitis Prevention

Although peri-implantitis can develop in anyone, it is significantly more common in those who do not follow precautions or control other health issues. You can lower your risk factor for developing this health problem by:

  • Paying careful attention to dental hygiene. Just because you have implants doesn’t mean you can stop caring for your oral heath. Brush and floss daily.
  • Regularly visiting the dentist. Your dentist may see signs of peri-implantitis before you do. In addition, your dentist can keep your teeth clean and healthy, further preventing the disease.
  • Stopping smoking and tobacco use. Heavy smokers are much more likely to develop peri-implantitis along with a long list of other oral health problems. Likewise, those who chew tobacco may also be harming their implants, gums, and bones.
  • Controlling your diabetes. Those with diabetes are more likely to suffer from peri-implantitis. Keeping your blood sugar in line and complying with treatment can lower your chances of gum and bone loss.
  • Controlling your gum disease. Peri-implantitis and gum disease have a lot in common. It is no surprise that those with gum disease are more likely to have peri-implantitis as well. Also realize that many lifestyle changes that prevent peri-implantitis also prevent gum disease.

It is important to note that peri-implantitis is also more common in those who suffer from osteoporosis and those who have compromised immune systems. If you suffer from either of these issues, be sure to look carefully for the signs and symptoms of peri-implantitis.

Dental Implants at the Surgical Arts Centre

At the Surgical Arts Centre, we believe that education is the first step toward prevention. We work closely with our implant patients so that they are well equipped to care for their dental implants for years to come. To learn more about our dental implant services, or to speak with an oral surgeon, please call our medical center today: (406) 549-6600.

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