Just as the gums around a tooth can become inflamed and then develop into periodontitis, this inflammation can also occur at the implant. This is referred to as peri-implantitis.

Peri-implantitis – a definition

Peri-implantitis is an advanced inflammation of the gums in the area of a dental implant that can spread to the jawbone. A closer look reveals a slimy layer, formerly known as plaque, which we now call a biofilm. The biofilm is a complex of polysaccharides and proteins produced by the bacteria that is so dense that neither the immune system nor an antibiotic can have a sufficient effect.

If the inflammation is only at the gum line and on the smooth surfaces of the implant, it is referred to as mucositis. This can still be treated well with special ultrasound systems and powder jet methods.

How can you recognize peri-implantitis?

In the early stages, this is referred to as mucositis. This presents as a red-purple discoloration of the gums with swelling and bleeding. If nothing is done here, the mucositis develops into peri-implantitis. I.e. increased bleeding, bone loss, pus discharge. The threads of the implant become visible and then the first pain occurs. Bone loss can cause the implant to loosen.

What are the causes of peri-implantitis?

In addition to inadequate oral hygiene, nicotine consumption and diabetes are among the most important causes of peri-implantitis. Other causes include pathological teeth grinding (bruxism), osteoporosis, immunodeficiency, radiation (e.g. as a result of radiotherapy) or a genetic disposition.