When it comes to a durable and aesthetically pleasant option for replacing lost teeth, dental implants top the list. An implant is a metallic, screw-shaped fixture shaped like the tooth root – inserted into the jaw bone. Once inserted, the implant serves as an artificial tooth root, providing a robust foundation for any prosthesis – a crown, bridge, or a denture attached over it – to replace missing teeth.
While dental implants are undoubtedly the best available option, not everyone is a suitable candidate for tooth replacement with them. Individuals who are have long-lasting medical conditions or dental problems. One such condition is periodontal disease, which, if not treated timely, not only causes tooth loss but can also result in the failure of your dental implant.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease refers to the inflammation and infection of the gum and bone tissues, and other structures that support the teeth in their sockets. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 50% of US adults, over 30 years of age, suffer from gum disease.
How Long Can You Keep Your Teeth With Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease results in the destruction of the gum tissues and fibers that attach your teeth to the gums. What starts with mild swelling and bleeding from the gums can transform into widespread destruction of the jawbone supporting our teeth – if left untreated. Ultimately, the teeth become mobile and eventually fall off. Therefore, the sooner you seek treatment for periodontal disease, the higher are chances for complete recovery. Once periodontitis or gum inflammation extends into an advanced stage, it can cause permanent damage to your teeth and oral health.
Will Tooth Extraction Cure Periodontal Disease?
Tooth extraction is not a treatment for periodontal disease. Instead, dentists only extract those teeth that have suffered irreversible damage from gum disease and cannot be salvaged. Management of gum disease involves professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar deposits around the teeth and gums. In advanced gum disease, dentists may also use a bone graft or regenerative techniques to replenish the deficient bone tissue.
Can Periodontal Disease Cause Implant Failure?
Periodontal disease is one of the most common causes of tooth loss – and implant failure. This is because implant therapy’s success depends on its ability to become firmly anchored within the jawbone – and support the overlying prosthesis. Underlying gum disease causes extensive bone loss – leaving behind insufficient bone mass and density to support an implant and its attached prosthesis – ultimately causing implant failure. Hence, dentists recommend that gum disease must be treated completely before replacing teeth with implants.
Gum Recession Around Dental Implants
Gum tissues around the implant can recede just as they can around natural teeth – causing multiple problems. First, the gum recession exposes the underlying metallic implant structure, creating an obvious aesthetic problem. Secondly, the recession of gum tissue promotes food impaction around the implant and the neighboring teeth. Untreated inflammation around the implant (peri-implantitis) can ultimately lead to the failure of the implant(s).
Tooth Extraction And Implant Timeline
Even after your dentist has extracted your teeth, he or she will not proceed with the implant process unless all your underlying dental problems have been treated. Before extracting your teeth, your dentist will perform a professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar deposits that harbor disease-causing bacteria. Your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria and speed up the healing process.
Once your gum health has been restored, your dentist will remove the teeth that cannot be saved. Typically, dentists ask patients to wait for about 4-6 weeks to ensure optimal healing of the extraction site. If your dentist feels that sufficient healing has taken place at the next appointment, they will then place the implants at pre-determined locations.
After implant insertion, your dentist will wait for 4-6 months for the implant to become fully embedded in the jawbone. Once the implant is completely anchored, your dentist will then place a suitable prosthesis over it.
Dental implants are by far the best option for replacing lost teeth. With proper dental care, dental implants restore your smile and tooth function and last for a lifetime. Say goodbye to old, uncomfortable dentures and take your first step towards a natural and lasting smile with implants.
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