Peri-Implantitus Treatment in Long Island

If you are considering dental implants, you should be aware of a potential health risk called "peri-implantitis." With the right dentist and proper oral care, this problem is completely avoidable or treatable. However, if contracted and not cared for quickly and correctly, peri-implantitis can become a serious and expensive health problem.

In this article, we will describe the causes and effects of peri-implantitis, and we will talk about the most important ways to avoid and treat it.

What is peri-implantitis?

Peri-implantitis is an infection that hurts gums, bones and other tissues surrounding dental implants. It is very similar to gum disease.

Peri-implantitis is an infection that hurts gums, bones and other tissues surrounding dental implants. It is very similar to gum disease. Severity can range from minor inflammation of the gums to severe degradation of the teeth and jaw. If left untreated, this often leads to patients losing their dental implants and developing other serious dental problems.

What are the symptoms of peri-implantitis?

Peri-implantitis is caused by the bacteria and food particles that gradually accumulate around dental implants and gum lines. For this reason, peri-implantitis tends to grow unnoticed in its early stages. However, later symptoms can become severe. Ranging from minor to dangerous, symptoms include:

  • Redness and inflammation of the surrounding gum tissue.
  • Deepening of the gum pockets around the implant.
  • Exposure or visibility of the implant threads.
  • Loosening of the implant.
  • Pus discharging from the tissues around the implant.
  • Loss of supporting bone.
  • Bleeding upon being probed.
  • Swollen lymph nodes around the neck.

Needless to say, some of the symptoms above are catastrophic to the mouth. Inflammation, bleeding, loss of bone, implant loosening, pus discharge and swollen lymph nodes can all be very painful. Eating, drinking, talking and even moving your head can become difficult. Additionally, when severe enough, peri-implantitis can be very unattractive, dramatically lowering patients' self-esteem and social confidence.

Please note: while these symptoms are real, they only advance to severe stages if left untreated. If caught early, and with adequate supervision from a competent dentist, peri-implantitis can be treated before it ever causes undue discomfort or embarrassment.

What is the cause of peri-implantitis?

There are three primary factors that influence your susceptibility to peri-implantitis:

  • Prior disease
  • Oral hygiene
  • Parafunctional habits

Prior disease: patients affected by a disease that affects the whole body (known as systemic disease) can be extra susceptible to peri-implantitis. If you have diabetes or another systemic disease, consult with your dentist about your dental implants. Dr. Sharf can provide good insights for your situation to avoid this disease.

Additionally, if patients have ever contracted a mouth infection - like periodontitis - then they can be at a higher risk to developing another mouth infection, like peri-implantitis. Bring it to your dentist’s attention if you have ever been afflicted by periodontitis or other bacterial mouth infections.

Oral hygiene: If not cared for, plaque and tartar that are full of harmful bacteria and pathogens can easily build up around teeth and gums. These degrade tissue and cause irritation and infection.

Other social factors can cause peri-implantitis, like smoking and drug abuse. What you put in your mouth affects your mouth; we advise extreme caution regarding what you place in your body.

Parafunctional habits: an easier term for this is "involuntary habit." In this case, peri-implantitis is isolated to habits like involuntarily grinding your teeth in your sleep (bruxism), poorly positioning your teeth - either due to misalignment or poor muscle control - when the jaw is fully closed (malocclusion), nail biting and thumb sucking.

How can I avoid peri-implantitis?

We’ve provided an exhaustive list of suggestions to treat or avoid this disease:

If you suffer from systemic disease, or have had a prior bacterial infection, like periodontitis or peri-implantitis, consult with your dentist before and after receiving your dental implants. Pay careful attention to Dr. Scharf’s recommendations, and follow them strictly.

Here are several suggestions for proper oral hygiene:

  • Brush your teeth frequently. Ask your dentist how often to brush your teeth. Most dentists suggest brushing two or three times per day.
  • Replace your toothbrush when needed. If your tooth brush’s bristles are bent, frayed or discolored, then it cannot effectively clean your mouth. It’s time for a replacement!
  • Learn proper technique for brushing your teeth. Don’t make the mistake of only cleaning the tops of your teeth, or brushing only where your teeth are visible. Food often gets caught in hard to see places of your mouth, including the back corners and the gumline. Tell your dentist you want to make sure you’re brushing your teeth properly, and ask him or her for some tips.
  • Use dental floss. About one third of your mouth’s plaque is between your teeth and in hard to reach places of your gum line. If you do not floss, then you leave all that plaque right where it is. For some people, this means weeks, months or years with the same bacteria eating away at their teeth, gums and dental implants.

If you suffer from any oral parafunctional habits (unconscious or involuntary habits with your mouth), like teeth grinding, poor jaw alignment or nail biting, seek help. Your dentist can provide several suggestions or treatments for these habits before they adversely affect your health. There are also products available on the market to help eliminate some of these habits.

Please note: you should exercise caution and consult with a professional before purchasing or using products that could affect your health.

Finally, make sure you have a dentist you can trust. When implanting "foreign objects" (like dental implants) in your mouth, you need a dentist who has solid experience and advanced training in proper techniques.

For example, not all dentists have the same standard of office cleanliness. Old or improperly washed tools could mean that peri-implantitis comes directly from your dentist’s hands! Reused or improperly worn gloves could mean that harmful bacteria from anywhere off the street is being added directly to your mouth with your dental implant.

Additionally, poor dental work can make your personal oral hygiene difficult and painful, and can expose you to pathogens later. Find a dentist who knows safe, comfortable practices.

In our office, Dr. Scharf accepts only the highest standard of workplace hygiene. Additionally, he has achieved vigorous formal training and broad clinical experience. He knows the techniques to perform your dental care perfectly, and he has done so with individuals whose mouths vary as much as their personalities. He is prepared for your individual needs, and excited to help you have the oral health you deserve.

Dr. Scharf is recognized for his expertise in periodontics and dental implants. Because of his efforts, patients have repaired gum recession with minimal discomfort and invasion and have recovered from advanced stages of gum and dental implant disease.

Dr. Scharf has stayed up to date with breakthroughs in the art and science of dental implants. As technology advances and techniques improve, Dr. Scharf will certainly continue perfecting his practice.

If you are considering dental implants, give us a call! You will be in excellent care, and accepted like a part of our dentistry family. If you feel you might have peri-implantitis, give Dr. Scharf a call at our office. We want you to have a healthy mouth, and we know how to help you get it!