Peri-implantitis: spreading the word

A “time bomb” is how one leading surgeon described peri-implantitis in 2014. With an increasing numbers of patients choosing implants as a solution for missing teeth, dentists will be seeing more cases of a condition that, little more than 10 years ago, professionals said didn’t exist.

Peri-implantitis is now recognised as a serious complication associated with dental implants. An inflammatory disease marked by a bacterial infection and the gradual loss of bone supporting the implant; if untreated, it can cause the implant to fail. Because bone loss is often painless, patients might not realise they have it. A warning sign for dental professionals is often the presence of peri-implant mucositis, which – although common and treatable – can lead to peri-implantitis. Peri-implant mucositis can be detected at a routine appointment and symptoms include swollen gums and bleeding on probing.

The global implant market was predicted to grow by an average of 9.3 per cent per year, between 2011 and 2016. According to the last Adult Dental Health Survey, around 500,000 adults in the UK (excluding Scotland) have at least one implant. In a recent study, the prevalence of peri-implantitis ranged from eight to 28 per cent.

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