The truth about Peri-implantitis….(which in English means HELP, my implants are failing!!)
I recently had a new patient consultation with a chap who had had a quote for implant work at another practice. Nothing extraordinary about that I hear you say….except that
he had been told – your implants will last a lifetime
Which prompted some immediate questions from me, like for instance
- who’s lifetime, the dentist, the patient or the implant?!
- who’s going to guarantee those implants for a life-time?
Because it’s all very well making longevity-promises to people but without a back-up plan and some ‘what-ifs’ in the
contract, those promises start to sound rather hollow!
Here’s what we do at Winning Smiles to ensure that our implants survive for the longest time possible
Having the right attitude helps!
- Admit that implants can and do fail both short term and long term (denial is indefensible, see above)
- Keep abreast of the latest evidence-based studies on what causes implant failure and what the best failure avoidance strategies are recommended – (Like the European Forum on Peri-implantitis held in London in January 2010)
Having a clear, well defined follow up protocol for each and every implant patient, tailored to individual needs eg
- – Regular implant-hygiene sessions with our implant-trained hygienists
- – Bi-annual inspections (x-rays when indicated) with the implantologist
- – Hygienists trained to carry out our screening protocol for signs of early problems (eg the beginning of peri-implantitis)
Giving patients the right information
- Peri-implantitis leads to implant failure if undetected (or not looked for – head in sanditis)
- 15% of implant patients will suffer from some form of peri-implantitis (from recent long term studies in Europe)
- Patients who have lost their teeth from gum disease have a much higher risk of losing implants
- Patients who don’t manage to keep plaque off the implants also at higher risk
- Patients who smoke have a much higher risk of peri-implantitis and implant failure
- Patients don’t know when they haver peri-implantitis because it doesn’t hurt, right up until the implant tooth falls out!
But look on the bright side!
- we detect problems early using our screening protocol
- we can treat them easily in the early stages
- late stage treatment is more complex but still possible
And most of all, as with teeth, as with implants: keep them clean, stay off the fags and please please turn up for routine checks
and maintenance…..implants are not fit and forget…