Dental implants are often used to replace lost teeth, and the leading cause of tooth loss is periodontal disease. However, periodontal disease is also a leading cause of dental implant failure, and people with a history of chronic periodontal disease experience a failure rate many times higher than those without a prior history.
Does this mean that dental implants are not a good treatment for these patients that need them most? No, but it does mean that patients and dentists have to work together to overcome this risk.
How Periodontal Disease Leads to Tooth Loss
Periodontal disease leads to tooth loss by damaging the support structures around the tooth. As bacteria colonise the area around your teeth, they naturally excrete acid as a by-product of their digestion of sugars and other carbohydrates. This acid can erode tooth material, gums, and even your bone.
As periodontal disease progresses, you may begin to notice that your gums are red and inflamed, and, eventually, your teeth may begin to feel loose. Finally, your teeth may come out under the stress of eating, or may have to be removed as the only way to combat the infection.
How Periodontal Disease Leads to Implant Failure
The strength of dental implants is that they are secured in your jawbone the same way that your natural teeth are. Unfortunately, this means that they are also vulnerable to the same processes by which bacteria can break down bones around your natural teeth. Even if you have a bone graft to replace lost bone before having dental implants, the infection can recur and cause a loss of dental implants.
How bad is this problem? According to one study, people without a history of periodontal disease had a success rate of 95% for dental implants, but those with a history of periodontal disease had a success rate of only 71%. More recent studies show that periodontal disease increases your risk of dental implant failure nearly 3-fold, but new techniques keep the survival rate at a much higher 88%.
For Success, You Have to Play Your Part
If periodontal disease led to you losing your teeth, it could lead to failure of your dental implants. If you are truly committed to having an attractive, functional new smile with dental implants, you also have to be committed to caring for your oral health. We may recommend alterations to your oral hygiene routine that should be followed very closely.
But if we work together, we can put you in the increasingly large category of people who overcame periodontal disease and got a great smile with dental implants.
To learn more, please contact My Hills Dentist in the Baulkham Hills area of Sydney.