Many patients who seek dental implants as replacements for missing teeth initially lost those teeth due to advanced decay or gum disease, and they want reassurances that the new appliances, including dental implants, will not suffer a similar fate.
During the initial meeting with the oral maxillofacial surgeon, prospective dental implant candidates may ask about the devices’ susceptibility to cavities or periodontal disease. The answer is not quite as straightforward as a patient may hope, though.
The implant itself, which is made of titanium, is not directly affected by the oral bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. Furthermore, the bacteria have no impact on the materials used for the prosthetics, either.
However, that strict definition doesn’t really capture the entire answer to the question. Dental implant patients do not have a free pass from the effects of oral diseases after they’ve received dental implants.
After the oral surgery in which the dental implants are inserted into the jaw, the bone forms a bond with the implant’s surface. Therefore, the patient must have stability in the surrounding bone to ensure the implant’s long-term success.
Periodontal disease or tooth decay that progresses to the point of causing bone loss can threaten the longevity of the dental implants, then. If the bone in the vicinity is weakened by gum disease, the implant may fail and need to be replaced.
Furthermore, no oral surgery, including dental implant placement, can be completed while uncontrolled gum disease is present. This is another way in which gum disease may impact dental implants, albeit a more short-term concern.
Dental implants can last for decades when patients take good care of them, and the implant itself will not be affected by oral bacteria. However, oral diseases can compromise the implant’s stability in a more indirect fashion, so you should be certain to work with your oral surgeon to develop a complete oral hygiene plan to reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease.
For more information about dental implants, contact the ORA office of Steven Koos DDS, MD at 312-328-9000 today.