Dental implants have long been considered as an effective cosmetic dentistry option for replacing lost teeth and restoring a smile. In most cases, dental implants can be expected to last for many years. Unfortunately, if you don't take care of your implants properly, you may suffer from a condition known as peri-implantitis, which is the progressive loss of the bone that's supporting your dental implant. Here's a look at what you need to know about this condition and what you can do to avoid it.
What Are the Basics of Peri-Implantitis?
Like periodontal disease and gum disease, peri-implantitis is an inflammatory condition. It is typically caused by a bacterial infection that's affected the implant area. It gradually leads to a loss of jaw bone, which can cause the implant to fail.
What Are the Signs of Peri-Implantitis?
In many cases, this condition comes with warning signs that you shouldn't overlook. For example, it is often preceded by a condition called peri-implant mucositis. This condition is easily treatable if you identify it early. Some of the symptoms include things such as swollen, red gums and some bleeding. If you don't address this right away, it is likely to progress into peri-implantitis.
Poor oral hygiene after your implant can significantly increase your risk of the condition. Also, if you are a smoker or have a family history of gum disease, you're at a greater risk as well. Understanding these risk factors is important because you need to be proactive about protecting yourself from this condition.
How Do You Avoid Peri-Implantitis?
Having dental implants doesn't mean you're automatically stuck with a condition like this later on. In fact, the more proactive you are about caring for your implant, the less risk you'll have of developing it. Unfortunately, the bone loss occurs gradually, and it's impossible for you to detect on your own, so you may not even know that you're experiencing problems until the symptoms become severe.
Make sure that you're visiting your dentist on a regular basis. He or she can help you to keep your implant clean and free of any particles that may cause infection. And, your dentist will take routine x-rays to monitor the bone condition. If you notice any signs of inflammation or tenderness in your gums around your implant, talk to your dentist right away. The sooner you seek treatment, the better your chances of avoiding severe peri-implantitis completely.
Talk with your cosmetic dentist today about your risk factors and other tips to help you prevent this condition.