Current Oral Health Reports

, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 239–250 | Cite as

Definition and Prevalence of Peri-Implantitis

  • Georgios Charalampakis
  • Erika Jansåker
  • Ann-Marie Roos-JansåkerEmail author
Epidemiology (M Laine, Section Editor)


This narrative review focuses on the current understanding of the definition and prevalence of peri-implantitis. A MEDLINE (PubMed) search over the past 3 years was performed using keywords related to the definition and prevalence of peri-implantitis. Additional literature retrieved from reference lists, review articles, and consensus reports were used. Definition of peri-implantitis is heterogeneous due to the various thresholds of bone loss and pocket depths used, creating a discrepancy in the prevalence figures. The prevalence of peri-implant mucositis varied between 19 and 65 %, whereas the prevalence of peri-implantitis ranged from 10 to 40 %. A consensus has been reached that the definition of peri-implantitis should be clinical signs of inflammation (bleeding on probing) and/or suppuration, in combination with progressive bone loss. In addition, we strongly recommend that measurement of the bone loss in relation to the implant length would further classify the case as mild, moderate, or severe peri-implantitis.


Peri-implantitis Peri-implant mucositis Definition Prevalence 


The introduction of the biological concept of osseointegration [1] led to the development of endosseous root-formed implants, a revolutionary alternative in restorative dentistry. The highly successful use of osseointegrated dental implants to restore partial and full edentulism has been documented in a wealth of scientific literature [2, 3, 4, 5]. According to available statistics, the number of dental implants installed annually around the world exceeds 2 million [6]. Just as the total population of the world is growing, and given that implant placement has become a routine treatment modality in daily clinical practice by specialists as well as by general practitioners, this number is expected to rise. The excellent success rates for dental implants presented in the literature lie in the fact that the criterion for failure has been implant loss, the terminal result of complete loss of osseointegration. Given the successful initial osseointegration, it is difficult to believe that implant loss is the result of a sudden burst without intermediate events. Thus, long-term biological complications around dental implants do occur and should be monitored by clinicians.

For more than three decades we have witnessed the emergence of two new diseases, peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis. These pathological conditions are considered to be major complications and draw significant attention in the literature. The term peri-implantitis was introduced to stress the infectious nature of the pathological conditions around peri-implant tissues [7, 8]. The consensus report from the 1st European Workshop on Periodontology [9] defined peri-implantitis as an irreversible inflammatory destructive reaction around implants in function, accompanied by loss of supporting bone. The 6th European Workshop on Periodontology presented modified definitions, not only to acknowledge that peri-implantitis is a treatable condition but also to include the collective term peri-implant disease for both entities, i.e., peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis [10]. Peri-implant mucositis was defined as a reversible inflammatory reaction in the soft tissues surrounding an implant in function, whereas peri-implantitis was defined as a more profound inflammatory lesion characterized by a deepened peri-implant pocket and loss of supporting bone around a functional implant. These two disorders are biofilm-mediated diseases developing in a fashion similar to the diseases occurring in the natural dentition. Mucositis corresponds to gingivitis and peri-implantitis is analogous to periodontitis [11•, 12].

Disease definition is quite different from a case definition. Despite the very clear and comprehensive disease definition, inconsistencies and confusion emerge when the terminology is applied in clinical practice. The variance in prevalence of peri-implantitis in studies available up to 2010 was the result of inconsistent case definitions [13, 14, 15•, 16, 17]. Koldsland et al. [15•] and Roos-Jansåker et al [17] demonstrated that the freedom to accept different thresholds of disease in the terminology had a direct impact on the prevalence of peri-implantitis.

This narrative systematic review encompasses the available literature since 2011, with the aims of identifying the core problem in defining peri-implant disease and elucidating how this affects the reports on prevalence in the studied populations.

Materials and Methods

All three authors performed an electronic search of the MEDLINE database via PubMed to find relevant articles using the following terms alone or in combination: peri-implant disease, peri-implant mucositis, peri-implantitis, periimplantitis, definition, prevalence, epidemiology. Articles were eligible if they reported data in the English language. In addition, a hand search was carried out to include reference lists as well as systematic reviews. While prospective longitudinal studies were eligible for the incidence of peri-implant disease, cross-sectional studies were considered for the assessment of prevalence. Focus was placed on recent studies, published in 2011 and later, so as to provide the reader with up-to-date information. All cross-sectional studies presenting a clear case definition for peri-implant disease and reporting prevalence data on a subject level are highlighted as being of importance (•) among the included studies. Studies since 2010 that are classical or exceptional in their methodology and concluding remarks were highlighted as being of major importance (••).


The final results of the electronic search are summarized in Tables 1 and 2. Table 1 includes articles related to the focused question ‘Definition and prevalence of peri-implantitis’ and provides the aim of the study, the prevalence of mucositis and peri-implantitis (where available), as well as a comment on the major findings. Table 2 provides the most recent literature review articles related to the focused question.
Table 1

Included studies on case definition and the prevalence/incidence of peri-implant disease, presented in chronological order for the period 2011–2014 (N = 26)


Study design/follow-up


Sample size (patients/implants)

Disease definition

Prevalence (P) of mucositis

Prevalence (P)/incidence (I) of peri-implantitis

Corbella et al. 2011 [32]

Longitudinal, prospective/18.3 months (range 6 months–5 years)

“Assess the outcomes of an important maintenance protocol for implants”


Mucositis: Bleeding index ≥2 (BoP + redness + swallowing) Peri-implantitis: Bleeding index ≥2 + PPD ≥4 mm

Patients: 3.7–7.7 % (P)

Patients: 1.4 % (P) Comment: “Stringent implant maintenance protocols are critical to reduce the incidence of peri-implant diseases.”

Dvorak et al. 2011 [34•]

Cross-sectional, retrospective/6 years (range 1–24)

“Occurrence of peri-implantitis and late implant failures”


Peri-implantitis: BoP and/or SUP + PPD >5 mm + radiographic bone loss

Not reported

Patients: 23.7 % (P) Implants: 13.3 % (P) Comment: “No relation was found between osteoporosis and peri-implantitis.”

Rinke et al. 2011 [21•]

Cross-sectional, retrospective/5.6 years (range 2–11)

“Prevalence rates of peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis in partially edentulous patients”

89 patients

Mucositis: PPD ≥4 mm + BoP Peri-implantitis: PPD ≥5 mm + BoP/SUP + radiographic bone loss

Patients: 44.9 % (P) 30.4 % (P) ”non-smokers without periodontal history” 80 % (P) “smokers with periodontal history”

Patients: 11.2 % (P) 2.8 % (P) “non-smokers” 53.3 % (P) “smokers with a periodontal history”

Comment: “Smoking and compliance are important risk factors for peri-implant inflammation”

Buser et al. 2012 [39]

Retrospective/10 years

“Assess the 10-year survival and success rates of titanium implants”


No clear definition


Patients: 1.8 % (P) Comment: 4.4 % implants with progressive bone loss. “Peri-implant mucositis does not necessarily progress to peri-implantitis over time”

Charalampakis et al. 2012 [22]

Retrospective, longitudinal

“Follow patient cases…from the time of implant placement to the time they were diagnosed with peri-implant disease”

281 patients (Microbiological Diagnostic Laboratory)

Mucositis: Inflammation of the mucosa + without bone loss Peri-implantitis: BoP and/or SUP + PPD≥5 mm + bone loss ≥1.8 mm (or 3 threads of implants with implant pitch 0.6 mm) after 1 year of implant in function Severe peri-implantitis: BoP and/or SUP + PPD ≥7 mm + bone loss >1/3 implant length after 1 year of implant in function

Patients: 1.1 %

Patients: 98.9 % 82.9 % generalized peri-implantitis (>30 % of sites) 17.1 % localized peri-implantitis (≤30 % of sites) 91.4 % severe peri-implantitis 6.8 % mild peri-implantitis Comment: “alarming high percentage of patients (54.4 %) with active periodontitis at the time of diagnosis of peri-implantitis”

Costa et al. 2012 [23•]

Prospective, cohort study/5 years

“determine the incidence of peri-implantitis”

80 patients Two groups: 39 with maintenance and 41 with no maintenance 212 implants (mucositis)

Mucositis: BoP + no bone loss Peri-implantitis: PPD ≥5 mm + BoP and/or SUP + bone loss This study presents a subset of previously published data from Ferreira et al. 2006 [13]


Patients: 31.2 % (I) No maintenance: 43.9 % (I) Maintenance: 18 % (I) Comment: ”The absence of preventive maintenance in individuals with preexisting peri-implant mucositis was associated with a high incidence of peri-implantitis”

Fischer and Stenberg 2012 [35•]

RCT/10 years

“Evaluate and report 10-year data”


Peri-implantitis: Bone loss >4 mm + “perfuse bleeding” + SUP


5-year control: 1 patient 10-year control: 1 patient with bone loss >4 mm (no clinical examination) Comment: “sandblasted and acid-etched implants offer predictable long-term results”

Gotfredsen 2012 [36]

Prospective/10 years

“Evaluate the biological and technical outcomes”


Peri-implantitis: Bone loss >2 mm + BoP


Patients: 5 % (P) Implants: 5 % (P) Comment: small sample plus “…other patients also demonstrated bone loss and mucositis. However the bone loss was less than 0.1 mm”

Lopez-Piriz et al. 2012 [24]

Multicenter, cross-sectional/4–5 years

“Explore implant health”


Mucositis: BoP + <1 mm bone loss Peri-implantitis: >1 mm bone loss + BoP

Implants: 39.8 % (P)

Implants: 35.4 % (P) Comment: ”The patient’s periodontal status is a critical issue in predicting implant health/lesion”

Mir-Mari et al. 2012 [25•]

Cross-sectional, prospective/6.3 years (range 1–18)

”Determine the prevalence of peri-implant disease”


Mucositis: Bone level <2 threads + BoP Peri-implantitis: Bone level ≥2 threads + BoP or pus

Patients: 38.8 % (P) Implants: 21.6 % (P)

Patients: 16.3 % (P) Implants: 9.1 % (P) Comment: “The prevalence of peri-implantitis in private practice based patients enrolled in a periodontal maintenance programme ranges from 12 %-22 %”

Roccuzzo et al. 2012 [30]

Prospective cohort/10 years

“Compare long-term outcomes of implants placed both in patients treated for periodontitis and in periodontally healthy patients”


No clear definition


Patients: 10.7 % (P) (periodontally healthy) 27 % (P) (moderate periodontitis) 47.2 % (P) (severe periodontitis) Comment: “patients with a history of periodontitis should be informed that they are more at risk for peri-implant disease”

Rodrigo et al. 2012 [26]

Prospective cohort/5 years

“Evaluate clinically and radiographically immediate implants”


Mucositis: PPD ≥4 mm + BoP Peri-implantitis: PPD ≥4 mm + BoP + “significant bone loss”

Implants: 20 % (P)

Implants: 5.8 % (P) Comment: “Implants placed with the immediate protocol demonstrated a higher tendency to crestal bone loss and peri-implantitis” NS

Stoker et al. 2012 [38]

Prospective RCT/8.3 years

“Compare the differences in the long-term clinical and radiologic effects for three different treatment strategies with implant-supported overdentures in the edentulous mandible, with a special emphasis on smoking”


No clear definition (clinical signs of inflammation not recorded)


Patients: 5 % (P) Implants: 5 % (P) Comment: “smoking almost doubled marginal bone loss”

Östman et al. 2012 [40]

Prospective/10 years

“Evaluate the survival rate, marginal bone, and soft tissue conditions at surface-modified titanium dental implants after 10 years of function”


No clear definition

Implants: 9.2 % “showed bleeding on probing”

Implants: 1.9 % (P) Comment: “good long-term clinical outcomes can be obtained with oxidized titanium dental implants”

Casado et al. 2013 [18]

Prospective/1–8 years

“Evaluate if patients with history of chronic periodontitis are more susceptible to peri-implant disease”


Peri-implant disease: BoP + bone loss superior to 1 mm (1st year) and 0.2 mm in the following years “pathologic bone loss”


Patients: 40 % (P) Comment: ”history of chronic periodontitis is a high risk factor for the development of peri-implant disease”

Casado et al. 2013 [20]

Cross-sectional/1–5 years

”Investigate the association between interleukin-6 (IL-6) G174C polymorphism and susceptibility to peri-implant disease and/or chronic periodontitis”


Mucositis: BoP + no radiographic signs of pathologic bone loss Peri-implantitis: BoP/SUP + radiographic signs of bone loss

Patients: 19.4 % (P)

Implants: 24.7 % (P)

Patients: 30 % (P) Implants: 43.6 % (P) Comment: “patients without a history periodontitis present average 96.5 % implant survival in comparison with 90.5 % survival in individuals with periodontitis”

Cecchinato et al. 2013 [28•]

Cross-sectional/4.8 years

“Determine bone loss…and the prevalence and severity of peri-implantitis”

133/407 ”loser sites” 30/113

Mucositis: BoP + bone loss ≤0.5 mm Peri-implantitis: BoP + crater-shaped bone loss >0.5 mm + PPD ≥6 mm


“Loser sites” Patients: 30 % (P) Implants: 17 % (P) Peri-implantitis: Patients: 8.3 % (P) Implants: 32 % (P) Comment: “provided the presence of deepened pockets (PPD ≥4 or ≥6 mm) was used as an additional criterion, the prevalence of peri-implantitis in this subsample was only 26 % or 8 % of implant sites”

Dierens et al. 2013 [41]

Retrospective/16–22 years

“Compare teeth and implants and to correlate microbiologic, radiographic, and clinical parameters”


No clear definition


Implants: 4.3 % (progressive bone loss) Comment: “the majority of implants present with healthy peri-implant tissues without progressive bone loss”

Lee et al. 2013 [33]

Retrospective/1–12 years

“Analyze retrospectively the long-term survival and success rates of Narrow implants”


No clear definition


Implants: 4.5 % (P) (progressive bone loss) Comment: narrow implants “could be used safely”

Marrone et al. 2013 [27•

Cross-sectional/8 years (range 5–18)

“Evaluate the prevalence and risk factors for peri-implantitis”


Mucositis: BoP + no bone loss or bone level ≤2 mm + absence of PPD >5 mm Peri-implantitis: Bone loss >2 mm + PPD >5 mm + BoP

Patients: 31 % (P) Implants: 37.9 % (P)

Patients: 38 % (P) Implants: 23.3 % (P) Comment: ”a positive correlation was showed between age, periodontitis, absence of teeth, rough surfaces and peri-implantitis”

Ravald et al. 2013 [37]

Prospective/12–15 years

“Study the long-term outcome of implant survival rate, soft and hard tissue conditions…”

46 patients Astra Tech: 25 patients Brånemark: 21patients

No clear definition


Patients: 2.2 % (progressive bone loss) Patients: Astra Tech: 16 %Brånemark: 29 %(bone loss ≥2 mm + BoP and/or pus) Comment: mean marginal bone loss after 1-year examination occurred between year 5 and 12-15 years

Roccuzzo et al. 2013 [31]

Prospective, cohort/10 years

“Compare the long-term outcomes of sandblasted and acid-etched implants in patients previously treated for periodontitis and in periodontally healthy patients”


No clear definition


Bone loss ≥3 mm Implants: 0 % (periodontally healthy) 9.4 % (moderate periodontitis) 10.8 % (severe periodontitis) Comment: “patients should be informed from the beginning of the value of SPT” (supported periodontal therapy)

Cecchinato et al. 2014 [29•]

Cross-sectional/10 years [5 years (incidence)]

“Determine the prevalence and incidence of crestal bone loss…as well as severity of peri-implantitis”

100 patients

291 implants

Mucositis: BoP + bone loss ≤0.5 mm Peri-implantitis: BoP + crater-shaped bone loss >0.5 mm + PPD ≥6 mm


Patients: 10 % (P) 10 % (I) Implant: 5 % (P) 4 % (I) Comment: “bone-level reduction was twice as great during the second as during the first 5-year period”

Meyle et al. 2014 [19]

Cross-sectional/5–10 years

“Evaluate the long-term results…in patients with a previous history of periodontitis”


Peri-implantitis: BoP/SUP + radiographic bone loss compared to baseline


Patients: 18.2 % (P) (5 years) 30 % (P) (10 years) Implants: 8.9 % (P) (5 years) 23.8 % (P) (10 years) Comment: small sample plus “bone loss was <1 mm in all implants”

Galindo-Moreno et al. 2014 [42]

Prospective/18 months

“Analyze marginal bone loss (MBL) rates around implants to establish the difference between physiological bone loss and bone loss due to peri-implantitis”


No clear definition (only radiographic marginal bone-level measurements)


Comment: “MBL rates around an implant of more than 0.44 mm/year are an indication of peri-implant bone loss progression”

Gómez-Moreno et al. 2014 [43]


“Analyze the changes produced in peri-implant tissues in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients”


No clear definition


Comment: “marginal bone loss was found to increase in relation to increases in HbA1c levels”

BoP bleeding on probing, HbA1c glycosylated hemoglobin, PPD probing pocket depth, RCT randomized controlled trial, SUP suppuration, NS not significant

Table 2

Reviews and consensus reports 2011–2014 (N = 13)


Type of report


Lang and Berglundh 2011 [11•]


“Clinical and radiographic data should routinely be obtained after prosthesis installation on implants in order to establish baseline for the diagnosis of peri-implantitis during maintenance of implant patients”

Berglundh et al. 2011 [62]


“Despite similarities regarding clinical features and aetiology of peri-implantitis and periodontitis, critical histopathological differences exist between the two lesions”

Klinge & Meyle 2012 [63••]


“Differences in the definition of peri-implantitis have resulted in a wide range of prevalence values”

“Early peri-implant bone resorption can be caused by remodeling”

“Long-term monitoring of implant performance should be based on radiographs taken directly after implant placement, but should rather relate to recordings obtained 3 months after completion of treatment, once homeostasis has been established”

“Peri-implantitis may be expected to occur in one of five patients, hence frequent monitoring of the peri-implant tissues for signs of inflammation is necessary”

Klinge 2012 [46•]


“…it is likely that the academic controversy in relation to peri-implant bone loss and peri-implantitis will continue”

Mombelli et al. 2012 [49•]


“…the prevalence of peri-implantitis seems to be in order of 10 % implants and 20 % patients during 5-10 years after implantation…”

Sanz and Chapple 2012 [53•]


“In the absence of previous radiographic records to assess progressive bone loss, a threshold vertical distance of 2 mm from the expected marginal bone level following remodeling post-implant placement is recommended, to assess progressive bone loss.”

Tomasi and Derks 2012 [47•]


“…need for improved reporting on epidemiological studies on peri-implant diseases”

American Academy of Periodontology 2013 [64•]


“…routine monitoring of dental implants as a part of comprehensive periodontal evaluation and maintenance is essential”

• Identify risk factors associated with developing peri-implant diseases

• Establish radiographic baseline at time of implant placement

• Establish clinical and radiographic baseline at final prosthesis insertion

• Employ methods that monitor implant health and determine inflammatory complications as part of an ongoing maintenance program

• Establish an early diagnosis and intervention, which will contribute to more effective management of peri-implant diseases

Atieh et al. 2013 [48•]


Prevalence (patients/implants):

Mucositis: 63.3 %/30.7 %

Peri-implantitis: 18.8 %/9.6 %

“Peri-implant diseases are not uncommon following implant therapy. Long-term maintenance care for high-risk groups is essential to reduce risk of peri-implantitis.”

De Bruyn et al. 2013 [65]


“If defining peri-implantitis as ‘infection with suppuration associated with clinically significant progressing crestal bone loss’ the disease incidence according to recent longitudinal studies on modern surfaces is <5 % after 10 years in function”

Murray et al. 2013 [66]


“Well-defined criteria should be used for the assessment and correct diagnosis of peri-implant disease.”

“…the key to maintaining peri-implant tissue health is continuous assessment and the provision of individualized supported treatment”

Heitz-Mayfield et al. 2014 [60••]



Peri-implant mucositis: “clinical signs of soft tissue inflammation (eg, redness, edema, suppuration) and bleeding on gentle probing”

Peri-implantitis: “presence of mucositis in conjunction with progressive crestal bone loss”

Pesce et al. 2014 [67]


“…both the choice of the term peri-implantitis and its definition remain controversial”

Case Definitions for Peri-Implant Disease

Case definitions for peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis are discussed separately. Note that studies included in the case definitions do not necessarily focus on prevalence, but could focus on risk factors [18, 19] or biological markers associated with pathogenesis [20]. The rationale for including such studies was to show the variance in case definitions in published studies.
  1. a)

    Peri-Implant Mucositis

    In most studies, the case definition for peri-implant mucositis is either not presented or is extracted directly from the terminology. Thus, mucositis was defined as visual inflammation and bleeding on probing (BoP) with no/slight bone loss [18, 20, 21•, 22, 23•, 24, 25•, 26, 27•, 28•, 29•]. However, the threshold for acceptable bone levels was further defined in some of the studies. In one, the marginal bone level was defined as the number of threads [25•]. Specifically, peri-implant mucositis was defined as presence of BoP and a bone level of <2 threads. A drawback of this study was that different implant systems were used and the variability in inter-thread distances cannot be neglected. In another study [27•], bone level was presented in millimeters and mucositis involved the presence of BoP, probing pocket depth (PPD) ≤5 mm, and a bone level of ≤2 mm. In other studies [28•, 29•], bone loss was assessed and mucositis was defined as the presence of BoP and a threshold of bone loss ≤0.5 mm.

  2. b)


    In some studies, lack of clear case definitions was obvious since radiological assessments were made alone without any clinical registrations. In a cross-sectional study [24] and in two prospective cohort studies [30, 31], the threshold of ≥3 mm bone loss was considered to be associated with pathology without reporting on clinical parameters.

    In a few studies [32, 33], clinical registrations were used alone to assess biological complications, i.e., peri-implantitis. Whereas BoP was a prerequisite as a finding for these two studies, the threshold for PPD varied significantly, i.e., PPD >3 mm [32] and PPD >4 mm [33].

    In most studies, a combination of clinical and radiological measurements was used for case definition. Four studies assessed bone levels in the definition of peri-implantitis [23•, 25•, 27•, 34•]. Costa et al. [23•] and Dvorak et al. [34•] required BoP and/or suppuration (SUP) with PPD >5 mm. In neither of these two studies was the bone level specified. Mir-Mari et al. [25•] defined peri-implantitis as the presence of BoP and/or SUP and a bone level of ≥2 threads, whereas Marrone et al. [27•] defined it as PPD >5 mm, BoP, and bone level >2 mm. The rest of the studies [18, 19, 20, 21•, 22, 24, 26, 28•, 29•, 33, 35•, 36, 37, 38] assessed bone loss for the diagnosis of peri-implantitis. Casado et al. [18], Meyle et al. [19], and Rinke et al. [21•] did not specify a certain threshold for bone loss. Cecchinato et al. [28•, 29•] defined peri-implantitis as BoP, PPD ≥4 mm, and bone loss >0.5 mm. Charalampakis et al. [22] applied the criteria BoP/SUP, PPD ≥5 mm, and bone loss ≥1.8 mm after 1 year of the implants in function. This study also included the time that the implants had been in function in the case definition. The definition of Ravald et al. [37] required BoP/SUP and bone loss ≥2 mm. Stoker et al. [38] included cases of PPD >5 mm and bone loss ≥3 mm; however, no clinical signs of inflammation were recorded (i.e., BoP). Other studies, though reported in Table 1, do not present clear case definitions [39, 40, 41, 42, 43].

    A recent study proposed a simple classification of peri-implantitis based on the severity of the disease [44•]. Early peri-implantitis was defined as BoP/SUP, PPD ≥4 mm, and bone loss <25 % of the implant length. Moderate peri-implantitis would imply the presence of BoP/SUP, PPD ≥6 mm, and bone loss 25–50 % of the implant length. Advanced peri-implantitis would require BoP/SUP, PPD ≥8 mm, and bone loss >50 % of the implant length. Kadkhodazadeh and Amid have also attempted to classify a combined periodontal, endodontic, and peri-implant lesion [45].


Prevalence of Peri-Implant Mucositis and Peri-Implantitis

It is well-accepted that the prevalence/incidence of a disease should be based on subject-level analysis, as it is the subject and not the site (implant) suffering from the disease independently. Implants in the same patient cannot be independent from each other and data extracted at an implant level should be considered as clustered data with all the relevant limitations [46•]. With regard to the prevalence and incidence of peri-implant disease (Tables 1 and 2), cross-sectional and longitudinal studies should be included, respectively [47•]. All studies included on prevalence that are highlighted are of a cross-sectional design, demonstrate a clear case definition, and present patient-level results.

The various definitions of peri-implant disease including different clinical and radiological thresholds would exert a significant influence on the magnitude of the reported prevalence/incidence of peri-implantitis. Another factor that can affect the frequency of disease is the type of population included in the study (general or specific). Certain groups of patients might be of higher risk and the prevalence of peri-implant disease should be expected to increase in such individuals. A recent systematic review with meta-analysis [48•] concluded that the frequency of peri-implant mucositis was 63.4 % on the patient level and 30.7 % on the implant level. Corresponding figures for peri-implantitis were 18.8 and 9.6 %. For smokers, a group considered to be high risk, the frequency of peri-implantitis increased to 36.3 %. In another review of a narrative nature on the epidemiology of peri-implantitis, it was similarly stated that the prevalence of peri-implantitis over a 5- to 10-year period following implant placement is in the order of 10 % of implants and 20 % of patients [49•]. Below, we discuss the prevalence figures separately for the two forms of peri-implant disease.
  1. a)

    Peri-Implant Mucositis

    The prevalence of peri-implant mucositis at the patient level was reported in six studies and varied between 1.1 and 80 % [20, 21•, 22, 25•, 27•, 32].

  2. b)


    The prevalence of peri-implantitis at the patient level was assessed in 12 studies and ranged from 1.4 to 53.3 % [18, 19, 20, 21•, 23•, 25•, 27•, 28•, 29•, 32, 34•, 36].



The Problem with a Case Definition of Peri-Implant Disease

We have been facing a lack of consensus on a case definition of peri-implant disease. This is not surprising as we have encountered similar difficulties in the case of periodontitis. It has been shown that a major limiting factor in determining and comparing prevalence estimates of periodontitis across surveys is the lack of a universally accepted case definition for periodontitis [50, 51]. There is no agreement on the cut-off points for different levels of disease. Similar to periodontal disease [52], peri-implant disease does not seem to hold any diagnostic truth, in the sense that there is no natural basis for a clear distinction between different severity levels of disease.

An additional problem, inherent in the case of the dental implant, is that the position of the implant in the oral cavity is not biologically determined, implying that the acceptable bone level around an implant in function may not always be analogous to the 2 mm distance from the cementoenamel junction, the standard reference point in the case of the tooth. In order to assess bone level changes accurately, we need baseline radiological images. As reported in a recent consensus [53•], “in the absence of previous radiographic records, a threshold vertical distance of 2 mm from the expected marginal bone level following remodeling post-implant placement is recommended, provided peri-implant inflammation is evident”.

Another issue is the starting point for monitoring bone-level changes around an implant. Given that a dental implant, though osseointegrated with the host, is still a ‘foreign body’, some bone loss during the tissue homeostasis period for the first year of an implant being in function should be accepted. Most authors accept a marginal bone loss in the first year after implant placement of 1.5–2 mm [54, 55, 56]. As early as 1986, it was claimed that tissue stability is expected at 1 year after placement and that a continuous bone loss of more than 0.2 mm per year was undesirable [55]. It has been advocated that marginal bone loss around the neck of implants should be considered a remodeling phenomenon, not only some months after loading but continuously [56]. Thus, continuous bone loss was regarded as a natural bone remodeling process rather than a pathological condition. In a prospective study, it was demonstrated that bone remodeling continued for 6 months, after which no further changes were observed [57]. It should therefore be expected that the bone remodeling process occurs within a few months and terminates as soon as the biological width is established.

For the diagnosis of peri-implant mucositis, clinical features are sufficient. However, for peri-implantitis we not only need a combination of clinical and radiological features for a correct diagnosis, we additionally need evidence for progressive bone loss. There are cases where suboptimal bone levels are depicted on the x-rays in conjunction with BoP and PPD. However, this could be a result of suboptimal bone levels at the time of implant insertion or subcrestal implant placement for aesthetic reasons [58] and not a result of an infectious disease. In addition, certain implant designs create ‘pseudopockets’ by creating a distance from the implant shoulder to the mucosal margin of up to 5 mm [59].

A recent consensus statement [60••] required the presence of mucositis in conjunction with progressive crestal bone loss to diagnose peri-implantitis. However, universally accepted thresholds for bone loss and pocket depth are unavailable. The same consensus concluded that “the case definition of peri-implantitis remains unclear and varies substantially between studies”. This variance in the case definition of peri-implantitis results in the inclusion of heterogenous studies, which has a negative impact on disease epidemiology. All included studies in the current review report prevalence figures of peri-implant disease. There are only two available studies presenting data on the incidence of peri-implantitis [29•, 61•]. Cecchinato et al. [29•] reported the incidence of peri-implantitis over a 10-year period as being 12 % of patients, whereas an earlier 5-year follow-up study [61•] reported peri-implantitis at a level of 1 % according to the specific case definition used. To our knowledge, only one study has been published on the incidence of peri-implant mucositis to date in the literature [32]. This study demonstrated that with stringent maintenance, the incidence of peri-implant mucositis was less than 10 %.


Peri-implant disease is undoubtedly a reality in clinical practice. However it has some ‘gray zones’ with unanswered questions that require further investigation. Therefore, in some cases there is a current dilemma for both the patient and dental practitioner as to whether or not to take action regarding peri-implantitis.

A universally accepted case definition for peri-implantitis is mandatory for both clinicians and researchers. It is fundamental not only for clinicians to speak the same language when they define a peri-implantitis case but also for researchers in order to compare different studies and come up with robust conclusions in meta-analysis. This has not happened so far and needs to change. To reach a consensus on case definition would have two additional advantages. First, the true prevalence of peri-implantitis would be reported with a slighter discrepancy among studies, giving clear answers on whether peri-implantitis is a problem in clinical reality or not. In addition, homogenous figures on the successful outcome of peri-implantitis therapy would be achieved, as similar thresholds for the therapy goals would be used in the studies performed.

The case definition of peri-implantitis should be kept as simple as possible. We would assign a case as peri-implantitis on the conditions that (a) presence of BoP and/or suppuration is recorded and (b) progressive bone loss is clearly shown on radiographs. We recommend additional classification of the case as mild, moderate, or severe because this would have a direct impact on the treatment modalities to be used. We should bear in mind that PPD may not reflect disease severity in all cases and setting thresholds based on PPD may under-/overestimate the clinical problem. Having said this, bone loss in relation to the implant length is a better marker for characterizing the case as mild/moderate or severe peri-implantitis. Early diagnosis and correct classification is critical in order to stop future progressive bone loss by taking action accordingly. Peri-implantitis is unpredictable to treat and late therapeutic intervention may lead to implant loss.


Compliance with Ethic Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Ann-Marie Roos-Jansåker, Dr. Georgios Charalampakis, and Stud. Odont. Erika Jansåker each declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

No human or animal studies performed by the authors:

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georgios Charalampakis
    • 1
  • Erika Jansåker
    • 2
  • Ann-Marie Roos-Jansåker
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Oral Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of OdontologyThe Sahlgrenska Academy at University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Department of Odontology, School of Dentistry, Faculty of Health and Medical SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Periodontology, Public Dental Health Service, KristianstadSweden. TandvårdshusetKristianstadSweden

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