Dealing with complications

Current approaches for treating peri-implantitis (PI)

The speaker asked ‘What should we bear in mind when we are faced with treating peri-implantitis?’ The four main factors he highlighted were (fig 1):

We also need to achieve the disease resolution. Currently, healing is considered to be a combined clinical outcome based on (Sanz & Chapple, 2012) (fig 2):

Several years ago, defects were classified as class I (vertical) or class II (horizontal) (Schwarz et al., 2007). In reality, however, many defects are a combination of the two: 60% of infrabony defects are associated with dehiscence; and 80% of supracrestal ones are combined with vertical defects. Despite this, the classification remains useful for guiding and informing the recommended surgical procedure.

Is non-surgical treatment worth it?

Non-surgical treatment shows little predictability and new technologies have not been proved to be more beneficial than conventional debridement (Faggion et al., 2014). Non-surgical protocols have a wide variable range for achieving disease resolution: 38 to 49% cases. In spite of the apparent inefficacy of these treatments, however, they should always be performed as a first step to prepare the surgical procedure.

Is there a decision rule for deciding to explant?

Once non-surgical treatment options have been exhausted, the decision needs to be made whether to explant or to treat. The speaker described the decision rule for explantation or surgical treatment thus: if bone loss accounts for more than two thirds of the implant surface or ≧ 7mm, explantation is recommended. If either of these measures are lower, then surgery should be considered (Schwartz & Sanz-Sánchez, 2015).

What is the best surgical approach?

Potential surgical procedures could be to use an access flap, or to adopt a resective (including osseous reshaping) or reconstructive approach. The decision of which to use depends on the morphology of the defect. In pure horizontal class II defects, an access flap or resective approach would be the best option. In a pure intrabony class I defect, a reconstructive approach. In combined cases, a combined approach is recommended (fig 3–4).

An access flap approach consists of eliminating granulation tissue, decontaminating the implant surface and suturing the flap in its initial position. It is useful in aesthetic areas when reconstruction is not feasible and/or bone is not going to be reshaped. With similar protocols, the 5-year success rate[1] of this approach reached 63% (Heitz-Mayfield et al., 2018) or, in a different study, 30% (Berglundh et al., 2018). In the latter study better results were obtained when implants had a machined surface.

Resective surgery modifies the contours of hard or soft tissues, aiming to reduce probing depths and improve cleansability. The reported outcomes of this approach highlight the fact that when pocket depth is reduced together with professional supportive therapy, good results can be maintained in the long-term (Serino et al., 2015).

Is there any other way to improve my results? (fig 5)

Implantoplasty has been suggested to improve treatment predictability. Indeed, smoothing the surface implant can improve results (Romeo et al., 2005) and can achieve a success rate over 80% (Bianchini et al., 2019). For this procedure, technical limitations should be taken into account when the prosthesis cannot be removed. There are also drawbacks to note: there is a 32% decrease in the fracture resistance of internal connection implants, especially in narrow diameter implants (Costa et al., 2018); and the leakage of titanium particles that can then get stuck in surrounding tissues, whose long-term biological effects are still unknown (Stavropoulos et al., 2019). Implantoplasty can also be performed in conjunction with reconstruction in combined defects, on exposed surfaces, the supracrestal component, and buccal or lingual dehiscence with 79% success (Schwarz et al., 2017) (fig 6).

Another attempt to improve the clinical results of access surgery has involved antimicrobials. There have been three recent RCTs on the subject. The systemic administration of amoxicillin seems to have improved results with rough surface implants. When azithromyzin was administered systemically, the reported differences were not significant. Only the local application of minocycline gel yielded better results than controls (Cha et al., 2019).

Although the literature on this approach is scarce, modifying soft tissue quantity and/or quality has been claimed to improve results of peri-implantitis treatment. A recent systematic review revealed that when an autogenous soft tissue graft was added to the apically positioned flap, the bone level and peri-implant gingival index were both significantly better (Thoma et al., 2018). Some ongoing RCTs seem to be pointing to similar results. This systematic review deals with prevention, not with treatment of peri-implantitis.

[1] Three success parameters were used: no BoP/SoP; PD ≧ 5mm ; no further Rx bone loss