There’s a lot to love about implants. These dental restorations replace a missing tooth with a titanium post in your jawbone, making it feel and function like a natural tooth. However, that also means you need enough healthy jawbone to anchor the post for the implant to succeed.
Unfortunately, nearly half of Americans age 30 and over have gum disease, a condition that can seriously compromise your oral health — including your bone and soft tissue. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on dental implants.
At Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental in Beaumont, California, your smile is the top priority of Daniel Park, DDS. When you have missing teeth, he uses state-of-the-art dental technology and techniques to assess and restore your oral health. That includes diagnosing and treating gum disease and determining if you’re a good candidate for dental implants.
The dangers of gum disease
A dental implant consists of a metal post, an abutment, and a crown. The titanium post fuses to your jawbone and functions like a tooth root. The abutment attaches to the top of the post, and the crown, or false tooth — which is the only visible part — is secured to the abutment.
When you get an implant, Dr. Park surgically inserts the post into your jawbone. However, it can take 2-6 months for the bone to heal and fuse around the implant. In order for this to happen, you need enough tissue for the implantation and healing process.
Gum disease occurs because bacteria causes an infection in the gum tissue and bone. In the early stages, you may notice redness, swelling, and bleeding in your gums, especially when brushing or flossing. But as the infection worsens, the gum tissue surrounding and supporting your teeth begins to recede, bone deteriorates, and your teeth can even loosen or fall out.
With time, untreated gum disease can lead to so much bone loss, it can cause changes to your appearance.
Treating gum disease
Fortunately, all is not lost if you have gum disease, especially in the earliest stages of the condition. Sometimes, Dr. Park can even resolve the mildest forms with a thorough cleaning around the teeth and gums or with topical or oral antibiotics to control the infection.
Another less invasive treatment for gum disease involves scaling and root planing. Think of this as a deep dental cleaning that could involve special instruments, a laser, or an ultrasonic device. Once Dr. Park removes tartar and bacteria from tooth surfaces above and below your gum line, he smooths the root surfaces to discourage additional bacterial buildup and promote healthy gum reattachment.
For more severe gum disease cases, Dr. Park could recommend more advanced periodontal treatments, such as deep pocket cleaning and bone grafting.
Dental implants and gum disease
After treating your gum disease, Dr. Park can determine if you have enough viable bone structure in your jaw to successfully support a dental implant.
The good news is many people are still able to get a dental implant. However, you may have to wait a little longer to ensure your gum disease is effectively under control and no active infection remains in your mouth. Similarly, if you need a bone graft to correct bone loss, you have to wait for it to heal and restore your jaw structure.
It’s also important to note that if your implant is replacing a tooth that was lost due to gum disease, you have a higher chance of gum disease affecting your implant. That means you have to practice exceptional oral hygiene if Dr. Park thinks you’re a good candidate for implants after treating your gum disease.
If you want to get an implant and want to see if gum disease may be an issue, Dr. Park can give you a thorough evaluation and discuss your next steps. To learn more, call 951-845-2661 to book an appointment with Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental today.