Treatment of Infected Implants

Implants have a very high success rate and are meant to be a part of you for life! With this though, the need for follow-up care is very important. Regular monitoring of dental implants as part of a comprehensive periodontal evaluation and proper at home maintenance is crucial to a patient's implant health.

There are some risk factors that can lead to infections of the implant or peri-implantitis. These risk factors include previous periodontal disease, poor plaque control, inability to clean, residual cement, smoking, genetic factors diabetes, and occlusal overload (traumatic bite). Those with periodontal disease have up to eight times the risk of implant failure due to cross bacterial contamination between infected teeth and the implant.

At this time, we recommend a yearly recall examination at our office, regardless of when your implant(s) was placed. The goal is to try and help prevent any possible infections from getting too advanced.

If you are diagnosed for an infection around your existing implant either by your general dentist or us, the next step is treatment. We offer many treatment options for ailing/failing implants. Traditionally, this method included surgical access with decontamination of the implant. If indicated, bone or soft tissue grafting is added to regenerate any lost supporting structures. In addition to traditional surgical methods, we use laser therapy. In our office, we use a combination of an Er:YAG and Nd:YAG to obtain the desired results, as well as, traditional therapies if needed. This combination approach gives the implant the best chance at success.

The Er:YAG wavelength of the Lightwalker is ideal for treating peri-implantitis since, while effectively killing bacteria, it can also be used directly on the surface of the implant without creating any heat or causing any damage to the implant.

In the attached article (view article), Professsor Gokbuget explains, "Unlike mechanical decontamination methods, which cannot fully adapt to the irregularities on the surface of an implant, lasers can irradiate the whole surface, reaching areas that are too small to receive mechanical instrumentation." He concludes that the Lightwalker's Er:YAG wavelength "can be safely and effectively utilized for degranulation and implant surface debridement".