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As earlier discussed, the internet is rife with semi-helpful medical (mis)information, portrayed in an alarmist fashion with the possible purpose of selling a product, or just plain, old fashioned fear mongering. This makes it hard to determine what is true and what isn’t, and sometimes you need to do quite a lot of digging about to find sources that can scientifically confirm or dismiss the info you have been given. There are certain issues, like the issue of implant rejection, which do not, however, seem easy to clarify.

In a previous article, it appeared clear that the reason for such mystery around dental implant rejection, aside from the nomenclature issue, is that we do not understand the precise medical reasons for why the body accepts titanium, the question at the heart of why certain implants fail when at first they seemed to be perfectly well adjusted.

One condition that can be seen as dental implant rejection is known as peri-implantitis. This is an inflammation that affects the soft and hard tissues, both the bone and alveolar tissue that surround the dental implant, thus causing the dental implant to become unstable. This is frequently paired with issues like bone density loss around the actual implant, and the reduction of mucosa around the tissues. This condition is nothing new, since dental implants work the same way (almost) as natural teeth, the tissue surrounding the implant can be infected in just the same way if oral hygiene is neglected. This article, from the prestigious IBMC, explains how and how often in detail. The name is key in this, as perio means surrounding and implant means (duh) implant, and the -itis suffix being disease or malfunction of something. This means that peri-implantitis is the the disease of the tissues surrounding the implant, and it can have a variety of causes, often simply poor dental hygiene. Bacteria and detritus get between the implant and the gums and are not expelled by the body, causing an infection around the dental implant. We do know that smoking and drinking alcohol are factors in the development of this disease, and people engaging in said activities can be said to be high risk. In cases of peri-implantitis, the dental implant needs to be removed as soon as possible, so that the periodontal disease can be cured. Afterwards, implantation is usually not repeated, as there is no guarantee that the same issue will not recur.

Although lifestyle choices are a factor, science has not yet clarified how much of one. As of now, peri-implantitis is considered a form of dental implant rejection. After all, the implant fails. But though nomenclature would regard this as dental implant rejection, it seems too soon to say for sure, as lung failure caused by smoking would certainly not be considered transplant rejection. In this complicated issue, at least this much is clear.


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