Gum disease is the process where you lose bone and gum around your teeth. It’s caused by an infection known as periodontitis. What that means is your teeth will eventually loosen up and fall out; it can be one tooth, two teeth, or possibly all of your teeth falling out.
In this video, I explain how gum disease impacts dental implants and how your gums must be prepared in order to get implants. So the short answer to this question is “no.” You’ll learn why and how gum disease needs to be addressed and how treatment for gum disease is critical to your ability to get dental implants. Smoking makes it worse.
For more details watch the video below and if you have questions or comments, please post them below and subscribe to my channel to get more information about dental implants.
Will Dental Implants Cure Gum Disease?
Video transcript lightly edited for easier readability.
Will dental implants cure gum disease? Another great question. Gum disease is the process where you’ve lost bone and gum around your teeth. It’s caused by an infection and is called periodontitis. That means your teeth will eventually loosen up and fall out. It can be one tooth falling out, two teeth, it can mean all of your teeth falling out.
So for the question will implants cure gum disease…the easy answer is no. In order to have dental implants, let’s say you’re having just one implant put in over here, you have all your other teeth and you’re just having one molar implant put in. You have to have a healthy gum condition throughout the rest of your mouth so that one implant can really be, call it attacked, by the gum disease on all the other teeth onto the new implant, so the whole mouth has to be healthy.
Do my teeth need to be cleaned?
Don’t be surprised if the dentist says, “Hey, in order to have this implant, we’ve got to clean your whole mouth before we can put the implant in.” That’s a sign of a good dentist, having a great cleaning before, especially if you have gum disease. If you haven’t been to a dentist in a little bit, if you have active gum disease then certainly that needs to be controlled before ever considering an implant or a bone graft. Definitely the number one most important thing.
Smoking and Dental Implants
And so implants do not cure gum disease. Remember gum disease is really turbocharged by smoking. Most people who have gum disease either smoke or have smoked for a long time. The saying, it’s not really funny, but it’ll stick is, “You can either smoke or you can have teeth, but you can’t have both.” So smoking is a huge part of the process of gum disease.
The only time implants will cure gum disease is if all the teeth have to come out. By removing all of the teeth, you’ve removed all of the gum disease. You cannot have periodontitis around no teeth. But you’re more at risk for developing gum disease around the implants because implants are not permanent at all.
If you’re a smoker or you have a history of gum condition for a long period of time that was never straightened out and you have implants and you don’t care for them or maintain them, then that same gum disease will return. You’ll lose gum and bone around the implants and eventually lose the implants as well. You may lose all of them, you may just lose one at a time. That condition is often referred to as peri-implantitis, which sounds similar to periodontitis.
One is an infection of the teeth and bone, the natural teeth, and the other is an infective process around implants. That one’s called peri-implantitis. Often the patient doesn’t know they have gum disease. They come to me, they’re missing one tooth, and I’ll say, “Hey, you have gum disease as well.” “Oh, I didn’t know I had that. Let’s take care of that first.”
I teach them a lot of things that they need to know about how to care for their gums, how to floss, how to water pick. Obviously diet and lifestyle counseling, alcohol, tobacco, are big parts of my discussion I have with patients. And once we get the mouth healthy, hopefully, it’s been an awakening to do better in the future so you don’t lose a tooth due to gum disease.
Most people don’t lose one tooth due to gum disease. They lose one tooth due to a bad root canal, a crack, a really bad cavity. When they have gum disease, they’re usually losing more than one tooth. And oftentimes, let’s say there are very few teeth remaining or there are only 10 teeth remaining, and those teeth have gum disease. A common question is, “Well, should I replace just those other 10 teeth that are missing, or should I take them out and replace all of them?”
Almost always it’s better to remove all of them. I find that the gum and bone are more stable if the gum disease has been eradicated by tooth removal. Remember, the only way gum disease can be removed or gotten rid of altogether is to remove all of the teeth. That’s the way we can prevent having the same bone loss problems on the implants as well.
And that’s with regular maintenance – that’s twice a year visits to the hygienist, X-rays usually once a year, having me see you as well to check in on the implants, and check-in on the bite. Those are things that, because we never can cure, there’s no cure for gum disease, there is treatment for gum disease, and our treatment is daily home care: how to keep your implants clean, how to keep your teeth clean.
Dogs and cats, also get gum disease. Well if we don’t care for their teeth, get them cleaned as well, they will lose their teeth. So there’s no cure, it’s just treatment. Daily treatment at home, plus with your dentist, and obviously don’t smoke. Do all the things you’re supposed to do to have a healthy mouth.
Can dental implants cure gum disease? The answer is no, and you have to have a healthy mouth before ever having an implant or a bone graft done beforehand. Really super important.
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