Dental implants are highly sought after these days, as they offer superior stability, the prevention of bone loss, and can last for life. However, many things can impact a person’s suitability for the implant procedure and you may be wondering how gum disease fares in this assessment.
Read on in this blog from Glen Valley Dentistry to find out how gum disease can affect your ability to replace missing teeth with dental implants.
A dental implant is a titanium post that is embedded into the jawbone and fuses with it over 3 to 6 months. After this, an abutment and dental crown are attached to complete the restoration and leave you with a solid tooth replacement.
Implants are the highest quality tooth replacements in the field of dentistry because they restore the tooth’s root as well as the crown by allowing the jawbone to grow around the implant. This prevents the implant from moving around so you can speak and eat freely without worrying about embarrassing tooth movement.
What sets dental implants apart from other restorations is that they prevent bone loss. When you lose a tooth, the jawbone is no longer getting the stimulation it needs to regenerate cells. Implants preserve the jawbone by forming an artificial tooth root that is stimulated when you chew, generating new cells. Implants are a long-term tooth replacement, as they can last for 25 years to life with proper care.
Gum disease is a serious infection of the gums that is caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar that causes gum inflammation and traps bacteria in gum pockets as the gums begin to pull away from the tooth’s root.
In the beginning, this starts as tender, red, swollen gums, but if left untreated, it can progress into a more advanced stage of gum disease known as periodontitis. This will result in irreversible damage to the soft tissue and jawbone, causing your teeth to feel loose or fall out.
Gum disease negatively impacts your ability to get dental implants because you need sufficiently healthy gums and adequate bone density to support an implant. Your jawbone is what holds the implant in place and your gums surround the implant for additional support. However, both of these things are severely damaged when one has gum disease.
If you have active gum disease, you will not be a candidate for dental implants. You will need to first undergo treatment to reverse the gum disease or repair the damage it has done to your jawbone and gums.
This can range from a deep cleaning (thoroughly cleaning and removing plaque and tartar from the gum pockets and then smoothing out the tooth roots to reattach the gums) to oral surgery. Those who have advanced periodontitis will likely need gum flap surgery, guided tissue regeneration, or gum and bone grafts.
Getting a bone graft to qualify for implant surgery is a common procedure, as many people have suffered from some form of bone resorption due to tooth loss, teeth grinding, or gum disease. After the infection has been completely removed, you will need to return for regular maintenance cleanings a few times a year.
You will also need to replace any lost gum or bone tissue with grafts. After this, you may be a candidate for dental implants but a dentist may recommend that you get mini implants instead of traditional implants because they do not require as much bone support.
If you are interested in dental implants but have been diagnosed with gum disease, we can help you become a candidate for dental implants by restoring the health of your gums and jawbone. Contact us at Glen Valley Dentistry today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Shaun Williams.