Peri-Implantitis: Complication or Oral Health Condition?

Sometimes people describe peri-implantitis as the most common complication of dental implants, but it’s hard to decide if this is an accurate description. Peri-implantitis is an infection of the tissue around the dental implant, similar to the way periodontitis is an infection of the tissue around your natural tooth. Minor peri-implantitis causes inflammation and tenderness around a dental implant. More severe peri-implantitis can make the implant loose and may lead to implant failure.

It’s true that peri-implantitis is common. Some studies show that perhaps half of all dental implant patients have some degree of peri-implantitis. However, it’s also true that periodontitis is common. About half of all adults in the US have some degree of periodontal disease.

And when we consider that many people with dental implants lost one or more teeth to periodontal disease, it doesn’t make sense to describe peri-implantitis as a complication of dental implants. Instead, it’s more like a continuation of an oral health condition that can impact your dental implants. But we do have to take it seriously. Peri-implantitis may account for as much as 40% of all dental implant failures.

Planning-Related Dental Implant Complications

Actual complications of dental implants can be related to any phase of the dental implant procedure. Some common complications come from poor planning of the implants. This can include:

  • Poor implant angulation
  • Poorly spaced implants
  • Inadequate gum and bone coverage for implants

Dentists who don’t have the proper tools to perform dental implant procedures or lack experience in the planning phase can increase the risk of these complications. A poorly angled implant can make it hard to craft an attractive implant restoration. Spacing problems can also make it hard to get an attractive dental implant, but can also endanger neighboring teeth.

If the dental implant isn’t properly covered by the gums and bone, it will be less stable and more prone to failure.

Procedural Complications of Dental Implants

During the dental implant procedure, things may sometimes deviate from the surgical plan, which can also cause problems with angles or space as well as endangering the implant or neighboring teeth. In addition, some of the following complications may occur during placement of the implants:

  • Damaged bone around implant
  • Implant exiting bone
  • Poor implant stability

These complications are more likely with an inexperienced or poorly equipped implant dentist.

Rare but Serious Complications

Most complications related to dental implants only affect your implants themselves. However, some complications can have significant impact on your oral health or overall health. These complications are very rare, but include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Surgical infection
  • Damage to neighboring teeth
  • Penetrating sinus cavity
  • Broken jaw
  • Nerve injury

These complications are rare, and in most cases both temporary and treatable. In some cases, it is possible that you will experience significant, permanent effects from your dental implant procedure.

How to Reduce Risks of Complications

At Beyond Exceptional Dentistry we take many steps to help reduce your complication risks. This includes ensuring optimal training for everyone involved in the procedure and obtaining the proper equipment for performing dental implant procedures. However, you also have a role to play, and there are many things you can do to reduce your risk, such as:

  • Select a skilled and experienced implant dentist
  • Don’t insist on dental implants if you’re not a good candidate
  • Ask questions about your procedure
  • Closely follow all preoperative and postoperative instructions, including maintenance
  • Follow-up immediately when signs of complications arise

If you follow these steps, you’ll significantly reduce your risk of complications. Dental implant benefits generally outweigh the risk of complications.

Do you want to talk more about dental implant complications in Savannah, GA, please call (912) 234-8282 for an appointment with an implant dentist at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.