Understanding the Stages of Peri-Implantitis

Posted on 10/20/2019 by Dr. Saklofsky
Understanding the Stages of Peri-ImplantitisPeri-implantitis is a pretty popular topic in the dental industry right now. Some studies say close to 1 in 10 patients who receive an implant are going through peri-implantitis. It is a disease that affects the soft and hard gum area surrounding a dental implant.

Over time bacteria causes infection below the gum line eating away around the implant. It causes the bone structure to fracture and soften. The only solution at that point is surgery.

Peri-implant mucositis

This is where the gums swell up and gingivitis like symptoms are only found around the soft tissue near the dental implant. Over time the gums form a lesion around the dental implant but the bone structure is still intact. The signs and symptoms are very similar to gum disease. There are red colored tender gums near the implant that will bleed when brushing. It is most similar to gingivitis of the teeth, however the inflammation caused is much more severe. This is believed the first stage before the implant develops peri-implantitis.


This is typically a continuation of the peri-implant mucositis. The implant has developed those lesions around it and now the bone supporting the dental implant starts to deteriorate as well. Once an implant reaches this stage, our dentist will need to perform surgery. The surgery requires some opening up of the gums, detoxifying the entire area. Once it is sanitized, some bone grafting to the implant will be necessary. Then a good course of antibiotics will follow.

If you suffer from peri-implant mucositis it must be treated or it will progress eventually to peri-implantitis, which currently, there are no proven treatments. Surgery seems to be the best approach, however studies give it 50/50 odds of successfully eliminating the disease around the implant. It is somewhat challenging to treat peri-implantitis but depending on the nature of the disease, there are a couple of different theories for treatment.

The surgical approach to sanitize the diseased area and graft bone in place of the deteriorating bone of the implant. The other option is to treat with large amounts of antibiotics and treat the lesions around the implant. More is being learned every single day how to successfully treat the peri-implantitis but as of yet, nothing is concrete.
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