Problems with your Dental Implants?
Expert treatment for complications with dental implants
Our doctors have a great deal of experience with placing dental implants. Between them, they have placed thousands of implants over the years, with an excellent success rate. Through advanced diagnostics and thorough pre-planning of the implant surgery, our doctors help avoid any potential issues with dental implants.
Our doctors also possess the necessary skills to provide treatment for complications with dental implants, should they arise, even when the implant was placed by another dental professional.
Peri-implantitis: the most common complication
Peri-implantitis is similar to periodontitis in that it is a bacterial infection that contributes to bone loss. The difference is that periodontitis affects natural teeth, gums and bone, while peri-implantitis affects the site of a dental implant.
Peri-implantitis is always preceded by a much milder disease, peri-implant mucositis, a condition that is both common and treatable. Early warning signs are red, swollen gums and bleeding when gums are probed. If undetected and left untreated, it can become peri-implantitis.
The frequency of peri-implantitis can be greatly reduced and this is an area of focus in our office.
- All of our implant patients have a periodontal exam prior to the placement of dental implants to rule out the presence of periodontal disease
- We recommend that screw retained implants be used whenever possible, as opposed to cement retained. This helps to avoid infection caused by subgingival cement.
- We recommend using implant brands supported by proven engineering – providing a better fit, less likelihood of leakage and less infection
- We do not use “generic” implant parts
- Patients with implants should have periodic exams to rule out peri-implantitis
Consultation to determine the cause of peri-implantitis
The first step in treating a post-implant complication is to determine the underlying cause and the severity of the issue. Peri-implantitis is usually caused by a complex series of elements that may include the following.
- Lack of regular professional maintenance of the dental implant
- Poor hygiene by the patient
- Heavy smoking and/or drinking by the patient
- Cement used to secure the restoration (crown, bridge, denture) slipped under the gum
- Undiagnosed periodontal disease was present prior to and during the implant procedure
- Improper placement of the implant post or restoration
- Dental decay near the implant that has not been treated
All of these aspects must be explored for an accurate diagnosis, and to ensure the best course of action.
Examination for symptoms of peri-implantitis
Your doctor will do a thorough oral examination to check for changes in gum color, thinning of gum tissues and signs of infection. He will gently probe the pockets between the gums and implants to check their depth, and obtain X-rays that will show if there is any loss of bone around the implant.
How we treat peri-implantitis
Our first consideration is to assess the severity of the condition. We need to determine whether the implant can be saved without causing additional complications, or whether the implant needs to be removed and the entire area must be treated.
Our doctors will often use the Perioscope to get a clear view of what is causing the peri-implantitis. The microscopic camera enables our doctors to see the source of any irritation and remove it.
Cleaning and bone grafting
When there is a more severe infection present, our doctors may remove the crown (or other restoration) from the dental implant, open a flap of gum, then gently and thoroughly clean and disinfect the area.
If bone has been lost, our doctors will use bone graft material mixed with proteins to stimulate the regeneration of bone. A collagen barrier is used to keep gum tissue from encroaching on bone during the two to three month healing process.
Removing and replacing an implant
The question of whether an implant needs to be removed may be a difficult one. You and your doctor will discuss the options available and decide on a course of treatment.
There are cases when removing the implant may cause more problems than simply leaving it in and treating the issues that are present, especially since the implant can be removed at a later date if treatment is unsuccessful.
However, when implants that have been placed incorrectly are jeopardizing the health of other teeth, they may need to be removed and replaced. When an implant is removed, bone is often taken with it, and bone grafting is required. After the bone has regenerated and the area has healed, our doctors can place your new implant post.