Dental implants can restore function to your teeth and give you the healthy smile you’ve always wanted, but the procedure is not suitable for everyone.
Recipients of dental implants must have good oral and overall health to ensure that the procedure is successful. Also, certain medical conditions, such as immune system issues and blood clotting disorders, may preclude you from receiving dental implants altogether.
But what about periodontal disease? As it turns out, significant gum infections are often the main reason patients need dental implants, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can receive an implant if you still suffer from an untreated gum infection.
If you’ve got periodontal disease and you’re interested in receiving dental implants, take a look at this simple guide for all you need to know about the relationship between the two.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis or gum disease, is an infection in the gum tissue that can lead to a host of issues with both your oral and potentially even your overall health.
Symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Swelling in the gums
- Gum discoloration
- Sensitive gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Pain when chewing
- Receding gums
- Abscesses in gums
- Loose teeth
- Tooth loss
Consult your dentist if you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms. Advanced periodontitis is not curable, but treatment can significantly reduce symptoms and help to protect your teeth.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are designed to replace teeth that are either missing or beyond repair. It involves the fusion of the implant to the jawbone through a process known as osseointegration.
Osseointegration provides a level of support that no other tooth replacement procedure can offer, and dental implants provide a healthy, natural-looking smile that can restore the self-confidence of the recipient.
Does periodontitis affect the dental implant procedure?
Because receiving a dental implant requires your oral surgeon to cut into your gums and drill into your jaw bone, it’s easy to imagine why having a gum infection might present some issues.
Periodontitis does indeed affect the success rate of dental implants. How? The infection weakens both gum and bone tissue, two things that need to be strong for the implant to be properly supported.
The good news is that just because you have periodontitis doesn’t mean you can never receive dental implants. You must first treat your gum disease, and then your dentist has to assess the support your gum tissue and jaw bone can provide.
If your gum or bone tissue has been significantly weakened or depleted by the infection, you can still get the support you need for a successful dental implant through a gum or bone graft procedure.
What are gum and bone graft procedures?
If you suffer from advanced periodontal disease, you may need to receive either a gum graft, a bone graft, or both in order to have a successful dental implant procedure. Below is some information regarding what these two procedures entail.
A gum graft provides gum tissue to areas of the mouth where gum recession has occurred, typically due to periodontitis.
There are multiple gum grafting techniques, but most of them involve carefully placing gum tissue sourced from another part of the mouth onto the area where the gums have receded.
A bone graft procedure is similar to a gum graft, but it’s designed to support the area in the jaw where bone loss has occurred.
Bone grafting involves placing bone (usually taken from the patient’s own body) onto the depleted and weakened area. This transfer allows the existing bone to grow and regenerate around the graft.
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