Established dental implants secure to the jawbone to act as a lasting fix for missing teeth. During the initial stages of healing, however, the implants rely on the gums for support. After the implants join with the jawbone, healthy gums continue to play a role in the condition of the implant. If gum disease causes the tissue to decline, serious problems with the implants could develop. Thankfully, you can have your gum disease treated and controlled to help keep implants in perfect condition. Read on for additional info.
Prevent Serious Infection
Prior to your dentist placing the implant, you may need to go through an extensive preparatory process, which often includes buildup of the jawbone and placement of the initial posthole. The hole in the jawbone anchors the implant in place while allowing the bone matter to slowly grow back around it. The hole acts like an open wound during this time, making it extremely susceptible to bacteria in your mouth.
If you have gum disease, the same bacteria causing gum deterioration can enter the hole created for the implant and cause a condition called peri-implantitis. The condition often presents as a painless lump near the infected implant. If the infection goes untreated for too long, the jawbone could start to deteriorate in that region. After starting gum disease treatment, dentists do their best to eliminate the bacteria with antibiotics and citric acid before performing bone grafts or implantation procedures.
Slow Gum Recession
Untreated gum disease causes the gum tissue to slowly recede at the base of each tooth. As the gum recedes, it exposes more and more of the tooth surface to bacteria and abrasive substances, including acidic food and drinks. Just as the recession exposes natural teeth to potential harm, the absence of gum tissue also puts implants at risk of rejection.
The implants require the support of healthy gum tissue to stay in place while the bone material grows around the anchor. The gums also block bacteria from reaching deep into the posthole and infecting the bone. Luckily, dentists can treat gum recession with laser surgery, and then wait three months for regrowth before performing the implant placement procedure.
Reduce Rejection Risk
Whenever foreign material enters the body, there is a chance of rejection. For implants, the normal failure rate sits between five to eight percent for teeth placed in the mandible and maxilla regions, respectively. When researchers take serious gum disease into account, the failure rate climbs to a twelve percent chance. Since many patients consider the implants a final solution for replacement of their missing teeth, learning of a potential rejection rate of over ten percent can feel like quite a shock.
Thankfully, dentists can perform gum disease treatments ahead of time to eliminate these factors and promote the development of healthy tissues throughout the mouth. Although the initial gum disease treatment extends your wait for implants a little bit longer, the procedure gives your body a better chance at accepting the implants for good.
Gum Disease Treatment Procedures
Since bacteria colonize deep in the pockets created by gum disease, dentists focus their early treatment efforts on reducing or eliminating those cavities. Dentists can perform the pocket reduction surgery by hand or using laser equipment. Once all of the tartar is removed from the pocket, the gums can start to heal, allowing the wound like cavity to close.
Dentists may also need to perform soft tissue grafts to help the gum material fuse back together. The soft tissue grafts are usually performed alongside the jawbone restoration procedures to cut back on your healing time. When dentists perform these procedures together, you can expect the healing time to take a bit longer than the individual procedure's estimated two-week recovery period. Doing the procedures together, however, cuts a few steps out of the process, which considerably reduces the overall recovery period for preparatory procedures.