However, if you are preparing for implant surgery, there are steps you need to take to ensure the health of these implants so that they can last a long time. For instance, some people—like smokers—may be more prone to developing a condition called peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is an inflammatory condition caused by bacteria around the implant's supporting soft tissues and jawbone. Peri-implantitis can cause implants to fail, but here are four ways your dentist can correct this issue.
For early peri-implantitis, at-home cleaning and antibiotics may be sufficient. Antibiotic usage may also be required after deeper cleanings or surgery. Antibiotics can help with swelling and bleeding around the implant. Your dentist might prescribe biodegradable antibiotic microspheres. These antibiotics are placed in gum pockets and release medication slowly over time so that microorganisms don't resurface around the implant.
Your dentist may refer you to a periodontist, especially if the peri-implantitis has formed gum pockets around the implant. Periodontists use manual instruments, such as curettes and titanium brushes to remove harmful bacteria. They may also use ultrasonic or air-abrasive devices to clean the infected site.
Laser therapy can be used on its own or in conjunction with periodontal cleaning. There are many benefits to laser therapy. Laser therapy can sterilize implant surfaces without damaging them. Carbon dioxide lasers can improve bone-to-implant contact around infected sites. This is helpful, as implants can only survive with good osseointegration, or by fusing the implant to the jawbone. Laser therapy is a non-invasive procedure since there is no need for incisions or sutures. There is also minimal bleeding and discomfort.
Gum Flap Surgery
Your dentist may want to try the previous treatments first as they are less invasive. However, if you aren't responding to conservative treatments, surgery can be a good option to save your implant. During gum flap surgery, your dentist will use a scalpel to create small gum flaps around the implant. This step allows the dentist better access to the infected gum tissue. He or she will excise damaged tissue and flush the area to remove bacteria. If the peri-implantitis has reached the jawbone, then bone grafts or biomaterials may be placed to encourage bone healing. Your dentist will suture the flaps closed and schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your healing.
Reach out to your dentist today to learn more about implants and how to prevent and treat peri-implantitis.