How to Prevent Peri-Implantitis? 3 Ways to Minimize the Risk of Peri-Implantitis

by Dental-Pedia
How to Prevent Peri-Implantitis? 3 Ways to Minimize the Risk of Peri-Implantitis

Dental implants have been an integral part of modern dentistry for over 50 years. In Germany, over a million implants are placed per year. While dental implants are considered extremely safe, with a success rate exceeding 90%, they can still cause potential complications, such as peri-implantitis. After all, even 5% of a million is still a considerably high number that can’t be ignored. The risk of peri-implantitis is even higher if the patient doesn’t observe optimal oral hygiene at all times. 

Besides leading to dental implant failure, peri-implantitis and periodontitis can affect your overall health, increasing the risk of cardiovascular problems, respiratory ailments, and diabetes. Since the risk of peri-implantitis only exists with titanium implants, there’s great value in transitioning to zirconia implants, widely considered the new standards in implantology. Below, we describe the peri-implantitis problem, how it affects overall health, and how to avoid peri-implantitis. 

Peri-implantitis: a widespread problem

Peri-implantitis: a widespread problem 

You may have heard of the term “periodontitis.” This is an inflammatory gum disease wherein the gums, if left untreated, can lead to the loss of teeth. Peri-implantitis is a similar condition that eventually causes the loss of the implant. It’s an inflammatory condition around the titanium implant, eventually causing gum inflammation and bone loss. 

Peri-implantitis occurs because of stubborn plaque buildup on dentures and titanium implants. That’s why it’s crucial to observe optimal oral hygiene and clean your prosthetics thoroughly, as instructed by your dental hygienist or oral surgeon. You must also go for regular dental checkups, so the dentist can identify the signs of inflammation at an early stage, increasing the chance of a cure. If peri-implantitis progresses (as it usually does), you eventually lose the implant and experience bone loss. 

The risk of peri-implantitis may be higher for some individuals because of genetic predisposition. However, it can also arise due to behavioral factors, such as nicotine consumption, and underlying health concerns, such as diabetes. To put it simply, you may experience peri-implantitis for a wide range of factors, such as improper oral hygiene, smoking, genetic predisposition, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and much more. 

5 ways in which peri-implantitis and periodontitis affect your general health

5 ways in which peri-implantitis and periodontitis affect your general health 

Periodontitis and peri-implantitis don’t just affect your oral health and teeth. Sure, they can lead to the loss of teeth and implants, but they have a trickle-down effect on the rest of your body. The bacteria from the oral cavity can enter the bloodstream, thereby impacting your overall health. Furthermore, general health concerns increase the risk of tooth inflammation, which, in turn, increases the risk of periodontitis. Below, we list some of the potential health concerns related to periodontitis and peri-implantitis. 

1. Tissue Destruction 

Periodontitis occurs because of an inflammation of the periodontium, triggered by the MMP-8 enzymes in the mouth. When active, the MMP-8 enzymes break down the collagen fibers of the gums. The activation of MMP-8 enzymes on the teeth also triggers their activation in other organs, which can lead to the gradual destruction of the body’s own tissues, which leads to rheumatic diseases. 

In fact, rheumatic diseases and periodontitis/ peri-implantitis are similar and reinforce each other. As mentioned previously, the inflammation of the periodontium activates the MMP-8 enzymes in the mouth and body, which triggers the gradual destruction of collagen and the body’s own tissues, such as the cartilage and bone. This can lead to rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatoid joint inflammation, which, in turn, can further cause dental bone degradation.  

2. Diabetes 

Periodontal disease and diabetes influence each other. Diabetics suffer from a deficiency of insulin, which regulates the level of sugar in the blood or insulin resistance. If diabetes is diagnosed too late or left untreated, it can lead to secondary diseases and complications, such as periodontitis, blindness, and heart attacks. In the worst cases, diabetes can also lead to death. 

To avoid complications, diabetics should regulate their blood glucose levels with a healthy diet, exercise, and medications prescribed by a doctor. However, periodontitis complicates the issue — the inflammation in the mouth makes the cells less responsive to insulin, decreasing the blood sugar level further. As such, periodontitis significantly worsens a diabetic’s health and reduces the efficacy of their treatments. 

Conversely, diabetes also affects oral health and gum health. Diabetics are more susceptible to bacterial infections than healthy people because they have more inflammatory messengers in the blood, and their immune system is compromised. That means bacteria can proliferate in the mouth, leading to a high risk of periodontitis and peri-implantitis, which, in turn, leads to the loss of teeth and dental implants. 

3. Premature Birth 

Researchers have found that the risk of premature birth is several times higher in pregnant women with untreated periodontitis. There are two possible explanations for this: bacteria from the mouth can cause a premature rupture of the membranes and induce labor, or the periodontal bacteria may inhibit fetal growth. 

Pregnant women also have a higher risk of gingivitis, periodontitis, and peri-implantitis. That’s because hormonal changes in the body make the gums more sensitive, making them react more quickly to external stimuli. Furthermore, the bacteria from dental plaque irritate the gums more, leading to periodontitis and peri-implantitis. 

Scientific studies show that periodontitis increases the risk of premature birth by a factor of 8. As such, early detection of periodontal disease and avoiding peri-implantitis can reduce the risk of premature birth. 

4. Cardiovascular Problems 

Untreated periodontitis increases the risk of life-threatening cardiovascular problems. The periodontal bacteria can circulate in the body through the bloodstream, leading to vascular constriction and disruption of blood flow. Periodontal bacteria can also clog the arteries, further restricting blood flow. Over time, the accumulated blood clots and coagulates faster, increasing the risk of a heart attack. 

Severe periodontitis or peri-implantitis can increase the risk of a stroke by a factor of two to three. As such, it’s crucial to take steps to avoid peri-implantitis or diagnose and treat periodontitis at the earliest stage possible.  

5. Respiratory Diseases 

Peri-implantitis and periodontitis increase the risk of respiratory diseases. The bacteria from the mouth are inhaled into the throat and lungs, where they can trigger respiratory ailments, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. As such, preventing peri-implantitis and periodontitis helps you maintain a healthy respiratory system. 

3 tips to minimize the risk of peri-implantitis and periodontitis 

Optimal Oral Hygiene, regular dental checkups and zirconia dental implants can prevent peri-implantitis

1. Optimal Oral Hygiene 

Patients must follow optimal oral hygiene habits to reduce the risk of periodontitis, peri-implantitis, and caries. You must clean your teeth at least twice a day, floss to clean the interdental spaces after meals, and use a low-sugar and low-acid diet. In case of irritated gums, you must go to the dentist immediately, especially if you have reddened, swollen, or bleeding gums. 

2. Regular Dental Checkups 

You should also visit the dentist’s office regularly to have your teeth and gums checked. Early diagnosis can significantly improve the success of your treatment while minimizing the damage caused to your oral health and general health. If you have an implant, you should go to the dentist more frequently than you would otherwise, allowing them to identify the earliest signs of peri-implantitis. 

The good news is that a test has been developed to analyze the active MMP-8 enzymes in the oral cavity, enabling dental professionals to diagnose periodontitis at an early stage and prevent the consequent damage. Researchers from the University of Helsinki, Finland, led by Prof. Timo Sorsa, developed an antibody to determine the active MMP-8 values, and the test can now be used broadly to identify early periodontitis. 

Furthermore, experts in implantology and diagnostics also use various implant coatings to regulate the activity of the MMP-8 enzymes, thereby reducing the risk of peri-implantitis. Despite these efforts, the risk of peri-implantitis after titanium implants cannot be ignored. 

3. Zirconia Implants 

It’s already scientifically proven that significantly fewer bacteria settle on zirconium nitride surfaces than on pure titanium surfaces, making zirconia implants a far more preferable alternative. While zirconia implants are relatively new, recent studies have shown optimal biointegration at par with titanium implants. Zirconia (ceramic) is a biocompatible material that ensures a stronger biological seal with the patient’s body, minimizing the risk of peri-implant complications and titanium intolerance. 

Most titanium implant achieve reliable osseointegration, but they falter when it comes to soft tissue integration, also known as biointegration. Without tight soft tissue integration, the pathogenic bacteria in the oral cavity can bypass the soft tissue barrier and reach the implant, increasing the risk of peri-implantitis. Ceramic implants have consistently shown that they’re more suitable for biointegration, and the zirconia material itself is bioinert and plaque-resistant, so the risk of bacterial infection is negligible. 

If you want dental implants but don’t want to risk the possibility of peri-implantitis, you should demand zirconia implants from your dental professionals. While zirconia implants aren’t currently widely available, it’s important to seek dentists willing to offer zirconia implants instead of titanium implants. 

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