Peri-Implant Mucositis: What Is It And How Can You Keep It From Affecting Your Dental Implants?

If you experience a condition called peri-implant mucositis after you get your dental implants, you may wonder if there's anything you can do to keep it from advancing further. Peri-implant mucositis develops from a number of things, including poor oral hygiene. The inflammation mimics the symptoms of gum disease and can potentially threaten the safety of your dental implants if it spreads to the bones of the jaws. Here's more information about peri-implant mucositis and what you can do to keep it from affecting your dental implants.

What's Peri-implant Mucositis?

In order for you to overcome peri-implant mucositis and protect your dental implants, it's important that you understand what the condition is and how it develops. The condition is the first stage of dental implant disease and typically affects the gum tissue surrounding your implants. Peri-implant mucositis is also similar to the first stage of gum disease, or gingivitis, in several ways, including how it develops and produces symptoms

Both mucositis and gingivitis can cause gum tissue to redden, swell and bleed once bacteria infect it. But instead of affecting just the gums, the bacteria in mucositis builds up on the metal posts of your implants. This can be dangerous for your implants if bacteria spread to the bone tissue surrounding them and cause peri-implantitis, the second, most destructive stage of peri-implant disease. 

Peri-implantitis can cause dental implant failure by weakening the tissues of the jaws. In most cases, you won't know that you have a severe infection right away, because the condition doesn't always cause pain in the implant sites. Eventually, your implants will become loose as the bone deteriorates around them. You might experience a foul taste in your mouth as pus and blood oozes from the damaged tissues. If peri-implantitis becomes worse, your implants may fail.

How Can You Save Your Dental Implants?

It's critical that you schedule an evaluation of your gums and dental implants as soon as possible. A dentist will most likely examine your gums with X-rays to see how bad the infection is and if it's spread to the jawbones. If the infection hasn't spread to the bone tissue yet, a dental provider will try a few things to get rid of it, including prescribing antibiotics and special antiseptic rinses to you. The goal is to reduce or stop the infection as early as possible to avoid the loss of your dental implants.

A dentist may schedule you for regular checkups to monitor the progress of your treatments. The monitoring time may occur over a course of several weeks to a month, depending on the extent of your treatment protocol and severity of your infection. If your gums haven't healed after a month or so, a dental provider may send you to a specialist to have your implants cleaned. If plaque spread beneath the gumline, it's essential that a specialist remove it as soon as possible to avoid the deterioration of your bone tissues. 

After your gums heal, you may expect to see a dentist regularly to maintain a healthier mouth. You may also learn how to better manage your dental implant care at home, such as learning new brushing techniques to remove plaque and bacteria from your mouth. A dentist may have a dental hygienist or another specialist work directly with you during this stage of your care. However, every dentist is different in how they manage their patients' care after dental implant treatment, so it's important that you discuss your care with a provider right away.

For more information about peri-implant mucositis and the treatments used to manage it, contact a dentist today.