Does Having A Dental Implant Mean You Can Worry Less About Gum Disease?

You’ve just had a missing tooth replaced with a dental implant. Now that you have a man-made anchor acting as the tooth root and a porcelain crown taking the place of your natural tooth, you don’t have to worry about something like gum disease anymore, right?

Not so fast. You must care for restored dental implants as diligently as you would your natural teeth, because implants can be just as susceptible to gum disease. In fact, it is estimated that 50 percent of all dental implants may be afflicted with gum disease.

That’s because calculus and tartar can accumulate on your implant at your gumline, irritate your gums, and potentially lead to periodontal disease. Implants may be more susceptible to bacterial breakdown than natural teeth. Don’t forget: they are orthopedic anchors.

“A dental implant looks and functions just like a normal tooth and should be treated as such,” says Dr. David DiGiallorenzo. “Because of the likelihood of gum disease, you want to be particularly diligent in your oral care routine.”

Failing to do so means your dental implant can become infected and loosen from your jaw. Improper care also can result in a condition known as peri-implantitis. This is an infection that can occur if bacteria is present during oral surgery, or any time following surgery without proper dental hygiene.

This condition causes your gum to become inflamed, and also can affect the jawbone around your dental implant.

Peri-implantitis can lead to bone loss and ultimately, implant failure. While we can treat the infection in some cases, we often must remove the implant as a result of the inflammation.

Patients at increased risk of developing peri-implantitis include diabetics, smokers, those who have thin gums, and those with poor oral hygiene.

We offer the following for oral health maintenance recommendations to our dental implants patients:

  • Brush at least twice daily using a Sonicare toothbrush
  • Regular interval professional cleanings
  • Coconut oil pulling 
  • Massage the gums with your electronic toothbrush
  • Remove any screw-retained appliances at least yearly for cleaning
  • Nutritional enhancement with prebiotic and probiotics, which is a natural, noninvasive approach to treating disease
  • Enzyme suppression to prevent the body from breaking down bone and gum tissue
  •  Risk factor modification. That means helping patients get their diabetes under control, stopping smoking, and prescribing medications as necessary to help your immune system fight against infection.

If your implant develops inflammation, the best therapy is Laser Assisted Periodontal Implant Procedure, referred to as LAPIP.

Protect your investment in your smile, and protect your health by taking proper care of your dental implants. Make sure you undergo routine periodontal checkups, which involve examining your teeth, gums, and bone structure to evaluate your gum disease risk.

Please call our office today if it’s time to schedule your periodontal checkup.