Dental implants are a fantastic option for those seeking a more permanent solution for tooth loss. Unlike dentures, dental implants don’t slip or loosen, and one doesn’t need to remove them in order to clean them as they are cleaned the same as natural teeth.
While dental implants provide you with a very natural looking smile, they also keep other teeth from moving or shifting. With implants you can also eat and speak without the risk of dentures shifting. Gum and jawbone health are very important factors considered when evaluating whether you are a good candidate for dental implants. The following information helps in explaining dental implants, and why gum health is so important when considering this procedure.
What Exactly Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are titanium posts that are surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath the gums. Once in place, the dentist can mount a replacement tooth or teeth to the post. The new replacement tooth is designed to blend in and function as your regular teeth.
Types Of Dental Implants
- Endosteal (in the bone) : This is the most commonly used type of implant. The various types include screws, cylinders or blades surgically placed into the jawbone. Each implant holds one or more prosthetic teeth. This type of implant is generally used as an alternative for patients with bridges or removable dentures.
- Subperiosteal (on the bone) : These are placed on top of the jaw with the metal framework’s posts protruding through the gum to hold the prosthesis. These types of implants are used for patients who are unable to wear conventional dentures and who have minimal bone height.
What Is Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease (gum disease) is a chronic bacterial infection of the gums and bone supporting the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. However, because gum disease is usually painless, you may not even know you have it. Gum disease is caused by plaque bacteria which form a sticky film on the tooth surface. These plaque bacteria release toxins that can damage the gums. As the amount of plaque increases the saliva in your mouth can begin to mineralise the plaque to form tartar (calculus). These hard deposits on the roots of the teeth only serve to promote more plaque formation and further damage to the gums.
Types Of Gum disease
There are two main types of gum disease- gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is very common and may affect up to 70% of the population. Periodontitis affects around 30% of adults over age of 30. Both these infections can be treated and controlled, but the earlier they are diagnosed and managed, generally the better the prognosis for your teeth.
Diagnosis And Treatment
Diagnosis and treatment of periodontitis in its early stages will significantly enhance the prognosis for the dentition. If you have not had a periodontal screening examination with your dentist in the last 12 months, make it a priority. Remember, most patients who present with periodontitis are completely unaware of a gum problem being present in their mouth because it rarely causes pain until it becomes very severe, by which time it may be too late to save your teeth.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease is typically painless and often the signs are subtle. Some of the symptoms may include:
- Gums that bleed easily with brushing or flossing
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Pus between gums and teeth
- Gums that pull away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Loose or separating teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Why Is Gum Health Important For Dental Implants?
When the gums are receding, the roots of the teeth are exposed which can leave teeth susceptible to damage and loss. If you have receding gums, your gum recession must be dealt with before you can have dental implants placed. This is because dental implants require a stable & sufficient jawbone and healthy gum tissue in order to succeed. Patients suffering from gum recession may be able to benefit from tissue grafts for improving the health of the gums, jaw and the stability of the teeth for improved appearance and oral health.
If a dental implant were to be placed in a patient with gum recession, the loss of the gum tissue would leave the implant partially exposed. This would weaken the supportive hold on the crown that is placed on top of the implant. This in turn, would affect the surrounding natural teeth to put the patient at risk for a variety of dental issues.
For some patients with gum recession, an implant dentist can use bone graft and tissue or gum graft to reinforce the jaw and gums for successful implant surgery. With a bone graft, the jawbone can be reinforced or increased slightly to better support an implant. With a gum graft, the gum tissue is improved to better cover the teeth roots and to protect the dental implant. This is typically done prior to the implant procedure with ample time given for healing to ensure the grafts are secured.
In order for dental implants to succeed, the jawbone and gum tissue must be healthy and strong. If you have receding gums, visit a periodontist for the treatment you need before you schedule an appointment with a dental implant specialist.
Good Oral Hygiene Habits
As part of your periodontal treatment you will be given careful oral hygiene instruction and shown the right ‘tools’ to use. It is important that you regularly remove plaque bacteria through brushing, flossing, and regular professional cleaning. Good oral hygiene will leave you with a fresh, healthy mouth and reduce your risk of further gum disease. There are other risk factors that may compromise your periodontal health such as stress, diabetes, genetics, and pregnancy. These other factors may be transient, but should be discussed with your dental health professional.
Schedule A Consultation With Dr. Kaeley Today At San Ramon
Dr. Kaeley, one of the best periodontal dentist in the San Francisco Bay Area, shall provide you custom treatment options for your periodontal needs. If you think you might be suffering from gum disease or if you have inflamed, sore or bleeding gums, schedule an appointment with us immediately. We even offer customized sedation options for our patients in San Ramon who experience anxiety about going to the dentist. We want all of our patients to feel totally relaxed and comfortable during their visits with us.
Gum disease can cause tremendous harm to your overall health and should be treated as soon as possible. After you call, the first step will be for us to setup a time for you to come into our office, meet Dr. Kaeley at Progressive Periodontics and Implant Dentistry at San Ramon, CA and discuss your concerns and questions with her. From there, Dr. Kaeley will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that fits your needs and get you back on the road towards optimal health.
ABOUT YOUR PLEASANTON, CA, PERIODONTIST DR. KAELEY:
We look forward to providing families with exceptional care and advanced treatment options. To Schedule An Appointment with Dr. Kaeley contact our San Ramon, CA, dental office today by calling (925) 860-7071. Our office welcomes new patients in and around San Ramon, CA, including Dublin, Pleasanton, Danville, Blackhawk, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Castro Valley, Pleasant Hill and the surrounding Contra Costa County communities.