Interventions for replacing missing teeth: treatment of peri-implantitis

As with natural teeth, dental implants can be lost due to gum disease (peri-implantitis). This review looked at which are the most effective treatments to arrest peri-implantitis.
Nine studies were included in the review and evaluated eight different treatment modalities. In one small study of short duration (4 months), it was shown that the use of locally applied antibiotics in addition to the deep manual cleaning of the diseased implants decreased the depth of the pockets around the implants by an additional 0.6 mm in patients affected by severe forms of peri-implantitis. In another small study of 4-year duration, it was shown that placing an animal-derived bone substitute with a resorbable barrier decreased the depth of the pockets by an additional 1.4 mm than synthetic bone. The majority of trials testing more complex and expensive therapies did not show any statistically or clinically significant advantages over the deep mechanical cleaning around the affected implants. In conclusion, at present, there is too little evidence to determine which is the most effective way to treat peri-implantitis. This is not to say that currently used interventions are not effective.

Authors' conclusions: 

There is no reliable evidence suggesting which could be the most effective interventions for treating peri-implantitis. This is not to say that currently used interventions are not effective.

A single small trial at unclear risk of bias showed the use of local antibiotics in addition to manual subgingival debridement was associated with a 0.6 mm additional improvement for PAL and PPD over a 4-month period in patients affected by severe forms of peri-implantitis. Another small single trial at high risk of bias showed that after 4 years, improved PAL and PPD of about 1.4 mm were obtained when using Bio-Oss with resorbable barriers compared to a nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite in peri-implant infrabony defects. There is no evidence from four trials that the more complex and expensive therapies were more beneficial than the control therapies which basically consisted of simple subgingival mechanical debridement. Follow-up longer than 1 year suggested recurrence of peri-implantitis in up to 100% of the treated cases for some of the tested interventions. As this can be a chronic disease, re-treatment may be necessary. Larger well-designed RCTs with follow-up longer than 1 year are needed.

Read the full abstract...

One of the key factors for the long-term success of oral implants is the maintenance of healthy tissues around them. Bacterial plaque accumulation induces inflammatory changes in the soft tissues surrounding oral implants and it may lead to their progressive destruction (peri-implantitis) and ultimately to implant failure. Different treatment strategies for peri-implantitis have been suggested, however it is unclear which are the most effective.


To identify the most effective interventions for treating peri-implantitis around osseointegrated dental implants.

Search strategy: 

We searched Cochrane Oral Health's Trials Register, CENTRAL, MEDLINE and EMBASE. Handsearching included several dental journals. We checked the bibliographies of the identified randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and relevant review articles for studies outside the handsearched journals. We wrote to authors of all identified RCTs, to more than 55 dental implant manufacturers and an Internet discussion group to find unpublished or ongoing RCTs. No language restrictions were applied. The last electronic search was conducted on 9 June 2011.

Selection criteria: 

All RCTs comparing agents or interventions for treating peri-implantitis around dental implants.

Data collection and analysis: 

Screening of eligible studies, assessment of the methodological quality of the trials and data extraction were conducted in duplicate and independently by two review authors. We contacted the authors for missing information. Results were expressed as random-effects models using mean differences for continuous outcomes and risk ratios for dichotomous outcomes with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Heterogeneity was to be investigated including both clinical and methodological factors.

Main results: 

Fifteen eligible trials were identified, but six were excluded. The following interventions were compared in the nine included studies: different non-surgical interventions (five trials); adjunctive treatments to non-surgical interventions (one trial); different surgical interventions (two trials); adjunctive treatments to surgical interventions (one trial). Follow-up ranged from 3 months to 4 years. No study was judged to be at low risk of bias.

Statistically significant differences were observed in two small single trials judged to be at unclear or high risk of bias. After 4 months, adjunctive local antibiotics to manual debridement in patients who lost at least 50% of the bone around implants showed improved mean probing attachment levels (PAL) of 0.61 mm (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.40 to 0.82) and reduced probing pockets depths (PPD) of 0.59 mm (95% CI 0.39 to 0.79). After 4 years, patients with peri-implant infrabony defects > 3 mm treated with Bio-Oss and resorbable barriers gained 1.4 mm more PAL (95% CI 0.24 to 2.56) and 1.4 mm PPD (95% CI 0.81 to 1.99) than patients treated with a nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite.