Does Periodontal Disease Prevent Me From Having Dental Implants?

Dental implants and periodontal diseaseWhen it comes to replacing missing or damaged teeth, dental implants are by far the most advanced tooth replacement option. Implants are anchored into your jaw like natural teeth and so they require the support of bone and gum mass to keep them in place. 

To be a candidate for smile-enhancing and life-changing dental implants, you need a healthy oral environment. Therefore, if you have periodontal disease, a severe gum infection, you will first have to get it under control before you can receive implants. 

Dental implants and periodontal disease are not a good combination. Your dentist will not be able to perform the procedure because of the risk of worsening the already present infection. 

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is essentially a bacterial infection of the gum and bone tissues that hold your teeth in place. 

It is a chronic infection that starts when bacteria in the plaque (the soft, sticky biofilm of microorganisms that grows on surfaces within the mouth) causes the gums to become inflamed. Gingivitis is the first form of periodontal disease, and it affects the surface of the gums, causing them to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. With time, the plaque can spread and harden under your gumline and advance to periodontitis. The infection continues to spread, and a pocket develops between the gum and the tooth. As the disease progresses, more gum tissue and bone are destroyed, and teeth can become loose.

Among the common symptoms are bleeding gums, bad breath, receding gums, loose teeth, redness or swelling of the gums, and sensitivity. However, some people may have periodontal disease but present no apparent symptoms, at least initially. For example, smokers. This is because nicotine reduces blood flow preventing gum swelling and bleeding.

Treating Periodontal Disease

If you want dental implants, your overall oral health will be assessed first to see if an infection is present. If so, the sooner it´s treated, the sooner you can receive your implants. 

Treatments can be performed by a dentist, hygienist, or periodontist, and what type you receive will depend on the severity of the infection and how much damage it has caused. If it hasn’t advanced too much, treatment can involve non-invasive procedures such as:

  • Scaling to remove tartar and bacteria from tooth surfaces and beneath your gums.
  • Oral or topical antibiotics to control the bacterial infection.
  • Root planing which involves smoothing out rough spots on teeth roots that trap and hold bacteria.

If the infection has advanced considerably, you may require dental surgery to restore bone and gum mass, including:

  • Bone grafts of small amounts of your own bone, donated or synthetic bone, to serve as a platform for the growth of natural bone.
  • Soft tissue grafts using tissue from the roof of your mouth or another source and attaching it to affected areas of your gum.
  • Flap surgery which involves folding back gum tissue so the dental professional can remove the infection and carry out more effective scaling and root planing. Underlying bone tissue may also be recontoured before the gum is sutured back.

Once periodontal disease has been treated, the dentist will evaluate your readiness for implants by checking whether the jawbone and gum can support the placement of new teeth.

What If I Already Have Dental Implants?

If dental implants have already been placed in your mouth and you go on to develop periodontal disease, your new teeth could be at risk of falling out. If too much jawbone has been lost due to infection, there may not be enough to hold the implants firmly in place. So, you will need either surgical or non-surgical intervention, depending on the extent of the infection and damage.

Simply put, without the right oral environment and good dental health, your implant will fail. To prevent this from happening, your dentist or hygienist will advise you on how to avoid periodontal disease or how to stop any infection from getting worse. This will include:

  • Brushing your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day.
  • Regularly flossing or using interdental brushes to clean between the teeth.
  • Getting your teeth professionally cleaned at least twice a year.
  • Giving up smoking if you´re a smoker.
  • Using antibacterial mouth rinses that can reduce that germs that cause plaque and infection.

Protecting Your Dental Implants

Choosing an experienced dentist is essential to achieving optimum results for your dental implants. At Chesterfield Dentistry, our highly trained team of dentists offer full-service implant dentistry to bring back patients´ smiles and self-confidence. 

If you´re thinking about having implants and also want to know more about protecting them, arrange a consultation at Chesterfield Dentistry. Simply call (314) 469 6420 or book online.