Do You Have To Redo Implant Surgery If You Have Peri-Implantitis?

If you are going to have an implant placed, you are likely learning how to reduce certain risk factors so that you can have a successful recovery. One issue you should be aware of is peri-implantitis—an inflammatory disease where bacteria attack gum tissue and bone around the implant.

In order for implant surgery to be successful, your oral tissue has to integrate around the implant post as if it were a natural tooth root. Peri-implantitis can affect osseointegration and cause implant failure. Read on to learn more about this condition and how to treat it.

Does peri-implantitis mean automatic implant failure?

No. Thankfully, if peri-implantitis is caught early, your doctor can treat it and you won't have to redo surgery. There are rare occasions where treatment of peri-implantitis wouldn't be helpful; for instance, if you have an undiagnosed metal allergy that's causing the inflammation, it would be better for the dentist to remove the post and use an alternative material in a new surgery.

How can the condition be treated?

In very early stages (called peri-implant mucositis), your oral hygiene efforts and professional cleaning can help to reverse the inflammation. If the condition starts to affect your bone and not just your gum tissue, your doctor may recommend:

  • antimicrobial irrigation and/or antibiotics
  • mechanical debridement
  • open-flap debridement

Open-flap debridement would require an out-patient surgery, so your dentist may start with more conservative methods first. However, surgery to reverse peri-implantitis might be preferable for many people so they don't have to redo their implant surgery.

What do these types of treatments entail?

Antimicrobial irrigation is similar to periodontal treatments—like scaling and root planing. Your dentist will use special instruments to remove bacteria below the gumline in gum pockets around the implant. Once gum pockets are cleaned, your dentist will apply an antibiotic agent in the pockets to kill any remaining bacteria. Your doctor will then use a water jet, called a pocket irrigator, to rinse the antibotic gel from the gum line. Your doctor then may prescribe oral antibiotics or an antimicrobial mouthwash to use at home.

Mechanical debridement is similar to your usual cleaning check-ups, as doctors use scalers and curettes in gum pockets, but they will most likely remove tartar around the neck of the tooth (where your gums meet your teeth). Your doctor may manually scrape tartar away, or he or she may use an ultrasonic scaler to loosen debris. Your dentist may use specialized instruments so he or she doesn't scratch or otherwise damage the implant crown if it needs to be cleaned.

Lastly, open-flap debridement is a surgery where your dentist makes an incision—or flap—in your gum tissue to access the underlying bone. Like previous methods, your dentist will clean the bone tissue and remove any harmful oral bacteria. Whatever method your dentist uses, you shouldn't feel pain as local anesthetic will be applied.

As you can see, while it may be concerning to develop peri-implantitis, there are still things you and your dentist can do to make your implant surgery a success!

To learn more, contact a resource that offers dental implant surgery.