Gum disease and missing teeth can cause pain, discomfort, and often interfere with day-to-day activities. Without treatment, these issues may progress and result in additional physical and psychological health conditions. Fortunately, dentists are able to use dental implants to restore your smile and prevent the development of health issues down the line. You might be wondering, can I get dental implants with gum disease? You cannot get dental implants if you are currently suffering from gum disease. However, in most cases, once the gum disease has been treated, you will be able to move forward with dental implants. In this guide, we take a look at dental implants, gum disease, and how you can begin your journey towards a healthier smile.
What Are Dental Implants? A Brief Definition
Thanks to modern dentistry, dentures are no longer the only option for replacing missing teeth. So, if you’ve lost patience with dentures that are uncomfortable and ill-fitting, dental implants are a great alternative.
Dental implants are a permanent treatment designed to replace one or more missing teeth. The procedure involves inserting implants into the gums where the roots of the teeth would have been. Once this is complete, a bridge, crown, or similar fixture is fitted onto the implants. The crown or bridge is usually made from acrylic or porcelain, which give the implants a realistic appearance and feel.
There are two types of dental implants currently used by dentists.
With traditional implants, titanium rods are inserted into the jawbone to replace your tooth roots. Your jawbone will need to heal over a three to six month period to allow the rod to integrate with the bone. Once the area has healed, a metal abutment will be attached to the implant, and your crowns will be attached to the abutment.
All On 4
Most dentists agree that All On 4 implants are the superior to traditional implants. Let’s take a look at why.
They are designed to replace all of your teeth, and create a more realistic and cohesive look. Once all teeth have been removed, two implants are inserted into the upper gumline, and two implants are inserted in the lower gumline.
The back implants are inserted at a 45 degree angle to support the entire jaw even if bone deficiencies are present, which eliminated the need for bone grafting in many cases. A full bridge of teeth are then attached to these four implants, and you have a full set of brand new teeth. It’s that simple!
All On 4 Implants do not require the same invasive surgeries and lengthy healing period as traditional implants. In fact, the treatment takes just two to three days to complete.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease occurs when plaque builds up around the gums and eventually hardens, forming a tartar. This tartar gathers bacteria, which further irritates the gums. The longer the plaque and tartar sit on the teeth, the more inflamed the gums become, which results in gum disease.
Gum disease first appears as gingivitis. This milder disease causes redness, irritation, and swelling around the gum that lines the base of the tooth.
If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease. This is a severe and serious form of gum disease. Symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and can impact quality of life. They include:
- Red and swollen gums
- Sore gums
- Gums that bleed or pus
- Bad breath
- Gum pain and sensitivity
- Receding gums
- Damage to the gum tissue
- Tooth loosening
- Tooth loss
- Bone damage
Risk Factors For Gum Disease
Poor oral hygeine is the leading cause of gum disease. However, there are several other factors that may increase your risk for developing the condition, including:
- Old age
- Chronic dry mouth
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Teeth that are crooked and hard to clean
- Conditions that weaken the immune system, such as cancer, AIDS, and autoimmune diseases
- Hormonal changes
- Certain medications
- Bacterial or fungal diseases
What Can Happen As A Result Of Gum Disease?
Gum disease can lead to a number of serious health conditions, including tooth loss, heart and lung disease, and inflammatory conditions.
If periodontal disease is left to progress, it can eventually lead to tooth loosening and ultimately tooth loss.
When the soft tissue around your gums is severely damaged, bacteria can enter the area and chip away at the jawbone. This can cause bone damage and tooth loss. If your teeth have not yet fallen out but are loose, they will likely need to be extracted.
Missing teeth can lead to several other problems related to oral health, including:
- Difficulty Biting. Losing teeth changes the structure of your bite. An unbalanced bite can lead to tooth grinding and clenching, which can lead to other health problems such as TMJ, headaches, and tooth sensitivity.
- Bone Loss. Your teeth require a sturdy jawbone to be properly held in place. Think of chewing like exercise for the jawbone; when you chew, you strengthen and support the jawbone. If you’re missing teeth, you won’t be effectively stimulating the jawbone when you bite, because your teeth won’t be pressing against each other. This can cause the jawbone to slowly disintegrate.
- Worsened Gum Disease. Think of this as a kind of vicious cycle; you’re losing teeth to gum disease, and by losing teeth, your gum disease worsens. This is because the exposed gum acts as a pathway for bacteria to enter, which will further worsen gum disease.
- Tooth Movement. If you have gaps in between your teeth, the adjacent teeth may start to move into the open space over time. This can cause your teeth to become crooked, therefore making them harder to clean.
- Losing More Teeth. If you don’t replace a missing tooth, your risk of losing additional teeth increases by 30%. Losing more teeth can significantly worsen the abovementioned problems.
Systemic Health Conditions
Poor oral health, which includes missing teeth and gum disease, can lead a number of other serious systemic health conditions, including:
- Heart and lung disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Social anxiety
- Chronic pain
Treating your gum disease and replacing your missing teeth will reduce your risk of developing these health conditions.
Why Get Dental Implants?
Most importantly, dental implants will help to prevent the above health problems from occuring as a result of missing teeth.
Additionally, you won’t have to worry about losing or replacing your implants. They are much sturdier than dentures, so if they are properly cared for, they are unlikely to require regular repairation.
Many patients suffering from missing teeth report experiencing lowered levels of confidence and self-esteem. Dental implants look and operate just like real teeth, delivering the most natural feel and function of all tooth replacements. They can help to restore your confidence in the way that you look and get you back to comfortably doing the things you love.
If you have restricted your diet due to missing teeth or ill-fitting dentures, dental implants will transform the way you eat. Dental implants operate like real teeth, so you can safely bite and chew all foods. This means you will be able to return to a normal, well-rounded diet.
Can You Get Dental Implants With Gum Disease?
You cannot get dental implants while you are actively suffering from gum disease. You will need to treat your gum disease before you undergo any dental implant treatment.
Dental implant treatments require healthy gums because the soft gum tissue needs to surround the implant to keep it stable.
Traditional implants require a strong, thick jawbone, so they may not be suitable if your jawbone has deteriorated. Alternatively, All On 4 Implants are designed to support a dental bridge even if the bone has been damaged, so your dentist may suggest these instead.
It should be noted that if the damage to the bone and soft tissue is too severe, dental implants may not be a feasible treatment option. However, as there are a number of interventions that can help to repair bone and tissue damage, most people will be able to go ahead with dental implants once these issues have been resolved.
Treatments For Gum Disease
Depending on the extent of your gum disease, your dentist may recommend surgical or non-surgical treatments, or a combination of both.
Non-surgical methods involve numbing the gums in order to effectively and painlessly remove plaque and tartar from the gum lining. Your dentist may also smooth the surface of the roots of the teeth to stop plaque and bacteria from building again. These methods are called scaling and root planing.
Another non-invasive treatment option is antibiotics. You may need to take antibiotics in the form of a pill, mouth rinse, or gel.
For more severe cases of gum disease, surgical intervention may be necessary. You may require bone or tissue grafting if there is extensive damage in those areas. This involves taking a section of tissue or bone from another area on your body (or using bone or tissue from a donor) and attaching it to the affected site. This will help your body regenerate new tissue and bone.
Other surgical methods involve cutting into the gum to remove plaque that may have gathered below the gumline. Your dentist can also repair minor bone loss during this procedure.
So, Is It All Worth It?
Treating gum disease and replacing missing teeth with dental implants will significantly improve your quality of life, and prevent further health issues from developing.
We understand that the process may feel daunting. We’re here to help. Our expert dentists offer personalised consultations where they can answer questions you may have about your options and provide you with a tailored treatment plan.
At Kew Dentistry, we endeavour to provide our patients with the most comprehensive care. Our clinic is eqipped with the latest technology, a state-of-the-art surgical theatre, recovery rooms, and a laboratory.
Get in touch with us to discuss your road towards a brand new smile.