Chances are, you’ve heard of both gum disease and dental implants. But how are they connected? As it turns out, gum disease and dental implants are closely tied together.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, also referred to as periodontitis or periodontal disease, is severe infection and inflammation of the gum tissue. It’s caused when a sticky bacteria, called plaque, builds up around and under the gumline. 

Nearly 50% of adults over the age of 30 have gum disease. And although it’s common, it’s largely preventable! Learn more about gum disease here

Risk factors of gum disease

Risk factors of gum disease include: 

  • Poor oral hygiene habits 
  • Smoking 
  • Family history 
  • Diabetes 
  • Hormonal changes 
  • Nutritional deficiencies 

Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults. When left untreated, it has been linked to various oral and overall health problems, including: 

  • Tooth loss 
  • Damage to and bone loss in the jawbone
  • Diabetes 
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease 

  • Red, swollen, or puffy gums 
  • Gums that start to recede 
  • Gums that are tender when touched
  • Gums that bleed easily, especially after brushing 
  • Chronic bad breath 
  • Teeth that feel loose or wiggly 
  • Pain while chewing 

However, it’s important to note that gum disease doesn’t always exhibit symptoms — you could be dealing with gum disease without knowing it! That’s why prevention is key. It’s important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine and see your dentist for your regular 6-month exams

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are the best way to replace missing or damaged teeth. Not only do they last longer than other tooth replacement options like dentures, they also look and feel just like a natural tooth! 

Here’s how dental implants work: 

  1. It’s easiest to think of a dental implant as an artificial root for your tooth. First, the implant is placed into your jawbone just like a natural tooth root. The implant bonds with your jawbone and provides a stable foundation for your tooth restoration. Pretty cool, right? 
  2. Next, a connector piece, called an abutment, is placed on top of the implant. 
  3. Then, a restoration is placed on top of the abutment. The restoration can be a crown, a bridge, or another restoration option.

One of the biggest benefits to dental implants? When cared for properly, dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement option! 

Our dentists at TLC Escondido Dental may recommend dental implants for a variety of reasons, including if you:

  • Have one or more missing teeth 
  • Have damaged teeth that will need to be removed due to injury, decay, or infection 

Contact us to learn more about dental implants, or to set up your free implant consultation today. 

The connection between gum disease and dental implants

Now that you know a little more about gum disease and dental implants, let’s take a closer look into how the two are connected: 

  • One symptom of gum disease is tooth loss. Dental implants are the gold standard solution for missing teeth. 
  • Your gums need to be healthy before you can get a dental implant 
  • Gum disease can happen after you receive a dental implant and cause it to fail (called peri-implantitis)

FAQs about gum disease and dental implants

Does gum disease always lead to tooth loss?

Thankfully, the answer to this is no! Although tooth loss occurs in severe cases of gum disease, it doesn’t happen to everyone. Plus, there are a number of gum disease treatments available that can help reduce the infection before tooth loss occurs. We’ll talk more about those treatments below. 

Still, it’s important not to risk it — if you’re experiencing symptoms of gum disease, or if you haven’t been in for a cleaning and exam in a few years, we recommend booking an appointment as soon as possible. Tooth loss is the worst case scenario when it comes to gum disease, so the sooner we can catch it, the better! 

Does gum disease go away after tooth loss or a tooth extraction?

Because gum disease happens when bacteria forms along the gumline, it makes sense to wonder if it goes away once the tooth is gone. However, that’s not the case. If left untreated, the bacteria that causes gum disease will continue to spread to other teeth and put them at risk. 

Not only that, but one risk of missing a tooth in general is the chance of developing gum disease.. That’s because when a tooth is missing, it weakens the tissue and bone around it, making it easier for bacteria to develop and spread. 

No matter how you lost your tooth (injury, infection, or another reason), we recommend talking with your dentist about tooth restoration options to maintain the health of your jaw and surrounding teeth. It’s worth noting that if you already have gum disease, we’ll want to address and treat it before moving forward with a tooth restoration. 

Can you get gum disease if you have an implant?

Yes, you can develop gum disease after getting a dental implant. Since implants function just like regular teeth, it’s important to take the same preventive measures you would with your natural teeth. This includes brushing and flossing around the implant, and visiting your dentist regularly. 

Can you get an implant if you have gum disease?

As we mentioned above, to get a dental implant, your gums need to be healthy. Gum disease fundamentally weakens the gum tissue and bone in your mouth, causing them both to shrink in size and become less stable. However, there are a number of treatments available to successfully treat gum disease, which then opens up the door to dental implants. 

Gum disease treatments at TLC Escondido Dental 

At TLC Escondido Dental, we’re dedicated to your periodontal health. We offer a variety of personalized, minimally invasive options that are proven to successfully treat gum disease. 

  • Deep cleanings – Also referred to as root planing or scaling, this treatment cleans deep under your gum line and along the tooth’s roots to remove plaque and tartar buildup. We’ll numb your mouth before treatment and can split it up into several sessions to ensure you remain as comfortable as possible.  
  • Laser bacterial reduction – This high-tech procedure is incredibly effective at painlessly reducing the amount of disease-causing bacteria in the mouth. Plus, it only takes 10 minutes! 

Have more questions? Contact TLC Escondido Dental today! 

Whether you’re concerned about gum disease, considering a dental implant, or simply want to evaluate your dental health, we are here for you! Dr. Reyes and Dr. Madrigal believe in providing a compassionate, non-judgemental approach to your dental care. We’ll work with you to meet your health goals and create the smile you’ve always wanted. 

Contact us today to book your visit!