Dental implants often are now preferred over dentures because they’re seen as more comfortable, stable, and functional. Yet they also can lead to peri-implantitis, which in turn may cause extensive bone loss. So, researchers at Temple University examined 33 articles on the disease to better understand it and help clinicians more quickly detect and treat it.
The researchers found a higher occurrence of peri-implantitis among implant patients who were smokers and who had periodontitis, uncontrolled diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. It also was associated with higher levels of specific cytokines, which are proteins that are important in the functioning of the body’s immune system.
Additionally, dental implants serve as a surface where microorganisms can settle and grow. Several bacterial species and viruses such as the Epstein-Barr virus were prevalent in patients with implants who had peri-implantitis. These microorganisms can cause plaque formation and inflammation characteristic of peri-implantitis.
Clinicians now have a concise list of factors that predispose patients with implants to peri-implantitis, and they can closely monitor patients with these risk factors. The researchers concluded that after five years post-implant, the risk of peri-implantitis increases, but maintenance programs can alleviate the issue.
“It’s important to realize that dental implants require the same care and maintenance as natural teeth, especially in patients with a high risk for peri-implantitis,” said author Miriam Ting, DMD, BDS, MS, of the Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry at Temple University.
The researchers note that some surgical and nonsurgical treatments as well as combinations of the two are effective in addressing peri-implantitis. However, no standard treatment for peri-implantitis exists, and the researchers were not able to deduce the most effective treatment from the available articles.
Furthermore, the researchers said, the current literature uses different definitions of peri-implantitis, making it difficult for clinicians to properly diagnose and treat the condition. Future work is needed to standardize the definition of peri-implantitis, they said, and larger clinical experiments are needed to determine the most effective treatment.
The study, “Peri-Implantitis: A Comprehensive Overview of Systemic Reviews,” was published by the Journal of Oral Implantology.