For most patients who’ve suffered tooth loss, replacing lost teeth with dental implants is the best option for restoring a smile’s ability to function, as well as its looks. The beauty of dental implants is that, by replacing the roots of your lost teeth, they offer the most lifelike dental restorations available. Like your natural teeth, the continued success of your dental implants requires proper care and maintenance. To illustrate this need, we explore how two of the most common oral health issues (cavities and gum disease) affect your dental implants.
As their name suggests, dental implants are surgically inserted into your jawbone where your natural tooth roots are embedded. The small, root-shaped device is made from biocompatible titanium, which facilitates the fusing of your jawbone to its surface (osseointegration). Your replacement teeth (i.e., dental crown, partial, or full denture) are typically crafted from specially tinted and layered dental porcelain, which is custom-designed to mimic your natural teeth’s color and ability to reflect.
As non-organic materials, your dental implants aren’t subject to tooth decay and cavities, which result from a bacterial infection of your natural tooth’s structure. However, the gums and jawbone surrounding your dental implants are still subject to one of the most destructive dental issues—gum disease.
Like tooth decay, gum disease begins with a bacterial infection that stems from excessive dental plaque. When the sticky substance accumulates along your gum line, the bacteria that comprise it irritate and inflame your gums, causing them to recede and create pockets for more germs to gather.
As the disease progresses, your gums become too infected to support your natural and replacement teeth. In fact, gum disease is the number one cause of adult tooth loss in the United States, and can cost you your dental implant(s) as well as your natural teeth.