Some people assume that dental implants, once properly fused to the underlying bone, won't present any ongoing issues. After all, they can't decay like normal teeth. That might be true, but they're still a part of your mouth, and several conditions can arise around them. One of the most serious conditions is peri-implantitis.
You may already know that periodontal diseases affect the gums, ligaments, and bone surrounding your teeth. Peri-implantitis is similar, only it involves inflammation in the gum and bone surrounding your implant. If left unmanaged, soft tissue and supporting bone can be lost.
Unfortunately, most patients are not aware they have developed peri-implantitis since it's a condition that tends to progress painlessly. That said, there are a few symptoms you should watch out for if you have dental implants, and here are just four.
1. Aching or Tenderness
Peri-implantitis is mostly painless – you're only likely to suffer significant discomfort when the condition becomes extremely severe. However, you may notice dull aching or tenderness when you touch the affected area. If you feel any such discomfort around a dental implant, it's a good idea to contact a dentist so they can have a proper look.
2. Bleeding Gums
As with periodontal diseases, one of the first symptoms of peri-implantitis is a bleeding around the gums. You may notice yourself spitting red when you brush. As the condition worsens, your gums will bleed when you lightly push against them. Though not a hard and fast rule, bleeding will often be accompanied by a change in colour. If your gums are bright red or slightly purplish, consider seeing your dentist.
Peri-implantitis causes excessive inflammation, and a further sign that's taken place below the gum line is suppuration or the development of pus. Unfortunately, pus is often quickly washed away by your saliva, so you may not be able to see any simply by looking at your teeth in the mirror. However, pus doesn't taste very good – if you notice a bad taste in your mouth, it could be pus escaping from under the gum line.
4. Receding Gums
By the time your gums start to recede, it's likely your peri-implantitis has become severe. At first, you will notice gum pockets deepening. If your teeth suddenly look longer, with whiter patches at the bottom, receding gums are almost certainly to blame. As they recede further, you may even notice the metal thread of your implant becoming exposed.