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Reliability of periodontal diagnostic tools for monitoring peri-implant health and disease

Review article
Authors Pier-Luigi Coli
Veronique Christiaens
Lars Sennerby
Hugo De Bruyn
Published in Periodontology 2000
Volume 73
Issue 1
Pages 203-217
ISSN 0906-6713
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Odontology, Section 1
Pages 203-217
Language en
Subject categories Dentistry


The prevalence, causes and consequences of crestal bone loss at dental implants are a matter of debate. In recent years, a high prevalence of peri-implant soft-tissue inflammation, associated with peri-implant bone loss, has been reported and the need for treatments similar to those offered for natural teeth affected by periodontitis has been proposed. This suggestion is based on the assumption that periodontal indices, such as probing pocket depth and bleeding on probing, are reliable indicators of the peri-implant tissue conditions and good predictors of future bone loss. However, based on a critical review of the literature in the present paper, it is concluded that periodontal indices are not reliable either for identifying peri-implant disease or for predicting future risk for peri-implant crestal bone loss and implant failure. The long-term experiences with dental implants, presented in the literature, indicate that the presence of bleeding on probing, probing pocket depths much larger than 4 mm and some bone loss seem to reflect, in most instances, normal conditions of well-functioning dental implants, bearing in mind that healing of dental implants is the result of a foreign body reaction with the formation of scar tissue. Therefore, the use of probing pocket depth and bleeding on probing assessments may lead to over-diagnosis and possibly to over-treatment of assumed biofilm-mediated peri-implantitis lesions. It is the opinion of the authors of this review that a treatment should only be initiated when a clinical problem is present based on patient's symptoms (discomfort, pain), the presence of swelling, redness and pus, and significant crestal bone loss over time (as verified with radiographs). The treatment should aim at resolving the infection, which could include removal of the implant.

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