Peri-implantitis is the growth of bacterial biofilms on the implant surface, causing chronic inflammation leading to bone loss. Many people are not aware that an implant can get peri-implantitis, just like a tooth can get periodontitis, both of which can eventually lead to the loss of the implant/tooth. The periodontal ligament plays an important role in the preservation of the bone around a tooth.
Historically, implants have been classified as "surviving" or "failed" based upon mobility of the implant. New implant studies have suggested that implant intervention may need to be done at earlier stages before too much bone loss has occurred. It was proposed that surgical intervention may need to be done when an implant is considered "ailing" or "failing" rather than waiting until enough bone loss has occurred to consider it "failed".
In a recent study published in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants, a comparative study between the success rates of implants and root canals revealed no significant difference in the two options and emphasized that treatment decisions should be made on factors other than outcomes. In other words, neither of these treatment options can claim to be more successful than the other. These treatments are different, and each has its own pro's and con's.
Implants have an important role in dentistry. I routinely recommend implant placement for missing teeth or teeth that are too damaged to save. However, implants are not teeth and we should try to preserve our natural teeth if possible.
For more information on the longevity of implants vs. natural teeth, click here or here .