- Sore, irritated, infected gums that easily bleed on contact.
- Tooth root decay, with teeth eventually loosening or even being lost.
- Halitosis (chronic bad breath.)
- Infection of the mouth, which can then spread to other parts of the body.
But another problem involves the relation of gum disease to dental implants. Gum disease can delay your implants until after getting proper periodontal treatment, but in most cases, it need not permanently prevent you from getting dental implants.
You Need Healthy Gums And Bone For Dental Implants
If you currently have periodontal disease, that will need to be corrected before implant surgery can take place. If you’ve had periodontal disease in the past and it has weakened your gum tissue or jawbone tissue, then you may need bone grafts and/or soft tissue grafts first before implants.
As implant roots must fuse to the underlying bone matter, this bone must be thick and wide enough to safely support the implants – even during chewing and over the course of many years.
And as gum tissue needs to surround the implant and lower crown, and as gum disease would continually be gnawing away at the gums and supporting bone matter, you have to have healthy gums before getting implants.
But if you’ve lost considerable periodontal tissue, it can be replaced through soft tissue grafts.
Thus, there are many candidates for dental implants who may need preliminary bone and/or soft tissue graft surgery, but relatively few who simply “can’t” get implants due to the condition of their mouth.
How Do Bone And Gum Graft Surgery Work?
Gum disease, or going with a missing tooth for a long period of time, can result in shrunken, weakened bone tissue under where your natural tooth used to be. Over time, the body “resorbs” bone matter when the pressures of “teeth in use” are no longer felt on that particular bone area.
But if your bone structure is inadequate to support dental implants, it can usually be built back up through bone grafts. Bone from a tissue donor bank or from another part of the patient’s body (usually the jaw, hip, or tibia) will be used.
Pieces of bone are carefully placed in position, and special tools are used to hold them in place while the new bone stimulates new bone matter to grow up around it.
As to gum grafts, they may be needed to cover and protect tooth roots, to prevent further bone loss, and to prevent gum line recession.
In some cases, gums can be cut, stretched, or repositioned – and then they will heal and firmly attach themselves in the new position, as well as grow. In other cases, gum grafts may have to be stitched on, and the gums will then have to be bandaged or otherwise protected until they fully heal.
It may take several months before your bone and gums can be fully ready to receive a dental implant, but it’s far better to wait than to risk implant failure.
If you have any questions about implants and bone/gum grafts, feel free to contact Dr. Raymond A. Kenzik today!