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Dental Implant–Related Conditions


James T. Ubertalli

, DMD, Hingham, MA

Last full review/revision Sep 2020| Content last modified Sep 2020

People with dental implants can develop conditions in the soft and hard tissues in which the implants are anchored as a result of bacterial buildup at the base of the implant. Mild forms are characterized by redness, swelling, and tenderness of the gums, which sometimes bleed when probed and/or contain collections of pus. More advanced disease results in loss of supporting bone.

There are three types of implant-related disease:

  • Implant-related mucositis
  • Peri-implantitis
  • Peri-implant deficiencies of soft and/or hard tissues

Implant-related mucositis

Implant-related mucositis affects the soft gum tissue immediately surrounding the implant. This inflammation is caused by plaque and characterized by swollen gums that bleed when probed. Dentists treat this condition the same way they treat plaque.


In peri-implantitis, inflammation of the soft tissues around the implant is accompanied by the progressive loss of supporting bone. Peri-implantitis is associated with poor plaque control and occurs in people with a history of severe periodontitis. Dentists treat it the same way they treat periodontitis.

Peri-implant deficiencies of soft and/or hard tissues

Normal healing following tooth loss may result in deficiencies of the jaw bone or lack of gum tissue that is healthy enough and dense enough to support the implant. Dentists correct these abnormalities by grafting the hard or soft tissues.

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