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Diseases Caused By Dental Implants: Taking A Look At Peri Implant Mucositis

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The dental implant and prosthetic market within the U.S. is projected to reach at least $6.4 billion by 2018. With over 3 million Americans already having dental implants installed and another 500,000 Americans getting dental implants each year, it is safe to say that dental implants are quickly becoming the number one recommended solution for those who are missing a tooth. The installation of dental implants comes with some risks. In particular, this article will take a look at the disease known as peri implant mucositis. 

Peri Implant Mucositis Defined

Peri implant mucositis is defined as inflammation in the soft tissues that surround dental implants. The inflammation is not associated or accompanied with any signs of loss of supporting bone, and the condition is somewhat similar to gingivitis. Peri implant mucositis is caused by bacterial accumulation at the base of the implant — right below the gum line. As bacterial concentration increases, the bacteria colonies will be more likely to irritate the gum tissues, and will cause inflammation. If the condition is not treated, the tissues in the surrounding area will eventually become permanently damaged, and the underlying bone structure may begin to deteriorate.

Peri implant mucositis is thought to be the precursor for peri implantitis. Generally speaking, most dentists claim that the effects of peri implant mucositis can be reversed if the condition is caught and treated early on. If the situation worsens and the condition progresses to peri implantitis, the underlying, supporting bone will begin to deteriorate. At this point in time, the only treatment option left is surgery. The worst-case scenario will be progressive bone loss accompanied with dental implant failure. 

Signs to Look For

After getting dental implants installed, you want to make sure that you keep your appointments with your dental surgeon in order to ensure that the dental implants are settling perfectly. You and your surgeon should look for the following signs of peri implant mucositis:

  • red or tender gums that surround the area where the dental implants were installed.
  • excessive bleeding when brushing, especially in the areas that surround the dental implants.
  • bleeding on probing or suppuration.

Peri implant mucositis is better defined as dental implants with a probing depth of over 4 mm, and bleeding upon probing. This phenomenon has been witnessed in approximately 48% of dental implant cases. In short, it is not a rare occurrence.

Preventing and Treating Peri Implant Mucositis

The etiology behind peri implant mucositis is still not very well understood; however, studies have shown that peri implant mucositis is more likely to occur with patients who have a habit of smoking and with patients who do not have a habit of maintaining excellent dental health. From this, dentists have concluded that by avoiding smoking and by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, you will be able to avoid peri implant mucositis.

Several studies have also been conducted to determine which treatment options are most effective. While some dentists recommend glycine powder air polishing or the administration of azithromycin, studies have shown that these treatment methods are not effective. The most effective treatment is the use of toothpaste containing 0.3% triclosan.


Although dental implants are an effective permanent solution, there are some risks and complications that you need to be wary of. Although peri implant mucositis is quite common, you can reduce your chances of being affected by this condition if you take the time to brush, floss and maintain your dental condition regularly. Make sure that you make all of your dental appointments for checkups to make sure that the dental implants are settling well and there are no signs of complications.