Dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement option that consist of a screw-like anchor. This anchor acts as the replacement tooth’s root and an abutment that attaches to a crown designed to replace the missing tooth.
For many patients, dental implants are considered the best option for replacing one or more missing teeth because they look, feel, and function just like natural teeth. They’re even an effective way to securely anchor dental bridges and full or partial dentures.
Dental Implants and Periodontal Disease
So, what do dental implants have to do with periodontal disease?
To receive a dental implant and to successfully maintain a dental implant after it has been placed, patients must have healthy gums that are free from periodontal disease.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease (also called gum disease) is a bacterial infection of the gums that develops when plaque and tartar accumulate along the gum line. This pushes the gums away from the surface of the teeth, creating pockets between the teeth and gums where harmful bacteria thrive.
Left unaddressed, periodontal disease can lead to several oral health issues, and it can increase the risk of systemic health problems like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, too.
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Individuals with periodontal disease might notice the following signs and symptoms:
- Receding gums
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Gums that bleed after brushing or flossing
- Pus between the teeth
- Pain and tenderness
- Tooth sensitivity
- Halitosis (persistent bad breath)
- Loose teeth
The Serious Dental Complications of Periodontal Disease
Unmitigated periodontal disease can lead to a variety of oral health issues like losing teeth as a result of the deterioration of the periodontal ligaments and the jawbone.
How Does Periodontal Disease Affect Dental Implants?
A periodontal disease diagnosis can affect a patient’s ability to get or maintain a dental implant.
Are Patients With Periodontal Disease Candidates for Dental Implants?
If a patient has been diagnosed with periodontal disease, then he or she will not be not considered a candidate for dental implants until the gum infection has been resolved.
Harmful bacteria can hinder the gum’s ability to heal properly after the surgical procedure to place a dental implant. Additionally, making surgical incisions while harmful bacteria are present could risk bacteria entering the patient’s bloodstream and the infection spreading throughout the body.
Due to these risks, our dentist always recommends treating periodontal disease before placing a dental implant.
Additionally, dental implants require adequate jawbone mass and density to support a dental implant’s anchor. If severe periodontal disease has caused the deterioration of a patient’s jawbone, then there might not be adequate bone mass present for supporting a dental implant.
How Does Periodontal Disease Affect Existing Dental Implants?
Periodontal disease that develops after a patient has had a dental implant placed can result in the loss of that implant due to two complications.
First, periodontal disease causes gum recession, and dental implants need the gums to hug them and hold them securely in place. When the gums recede, dental implants lose some of the support they need.
Gum recession also exposes the junction between the dental implant’s abutment and crown which can be both visually unappealing and also a risk for further infection.
Secondly, advanced periodontal disease can lead to the deterioration of the jawbone. If this deterioration occurs, the fixed position and secure ossification of the dental implant’s anchor in the jawbone can be compromised. This leads to the loosening of the anchor and the eventual loss of the dental implant.
How to Prevent Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease can be prevented with good oral hygiene habits that keep the accumulation of plaque and tartar and bacterial growth in check.
Patients should brush gently and floss at least twice a day in addition to scheduling professional dental cleanings every six months.
How to Treat Periodontal Disease
If you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, our dentist will recommend a variety of treatment options. This might include more frequent visits to the dental office for professional cleanings in addition to root planing and scaling.
Treatments for periodontal disease vary depending on how advanced a patient’s infection is. The time needed to effectively treat periodontal disease, get bacterial growth under control, and restore a patient’s healthy gums depends on the severity of the gum disease, as well.
Periodontal Care and Dental Implants at Dentistry of West Bend
Our dentist, Dr. Jared Harding puts a strong emphasis on preventative dentistry to protect patients from developing oral health problems like periodontal disease.
Sometimes, however, a patient develops gum disease, despite taking good care of their teeth and gums. We’re here to help patients restore their gum health with a variety of periodontal disease treatments.
If you’re missing one or more teeth and are interested in replacing them with dental implants, we encourage you to schedule a smile restoration consultation. Dr. Harding will examine your teeth, gums, and jawbone to help you determine whether or not you might be a candidate for dental implants.