Dental implants result in the most natural tooth replacement results. The implant itself is placed in your jawbone. Made of durable titanium alloy, this small implant (which resembles a screw) will serve as a tooth root. Your jawbone and gums heal around the implant, and then a false tooth (called a dental crown) is attached to it. The dental crown will be designed to be a replica of the tooth it's replacing. Your gums will heal around the base of the dental crown so that it looks just like a natural tooth. Of course, for this to happen, your gums need to be healthy.
Suitability for Implants
There are a few conditions that can lead to a patient being an unsuitable candidate for a dental implant. Certain illnesses which affect bone density (such as osteoporosis) and a number of autoimmune diseases can complicate the implantation process, greatly reducing the likelihood of a successful outcome. Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) also plays a role in your suitability for a dental implant.
The commonality of Gum Disease
You might not think that gum disease is particularly serious, but its commonality doesn't make it any less of a problem. Over 47% of American adults aged 30 and older have some form of gum disease, and its prevalence increases with age—with more than 70% of adults aged 65 and older experiencing gum disease to some degree. However, it must be pointed out that gum disease varies significantly in its severity, ranging from mild gingivitis to complete destruction of a tooth's supporting structures.
The severity of the Problem
It won't come as a surprise to learn that advanced gum disease will render you unsuitable for a dental implant, but even mild to moderate gum disease can complicate the process. The good news is that this status is not a permanent one. If your gum disease is treated and reversed (and your dentist is satisfied with your progress), then you can become a suitable candidate for an implant.
Types of Treatment
Treatment for your gum disease will, of course, depend on its precise nature. In cases of gingivitis, you may only need to have your teeth scaled to remove tartar (hardened plaque), which should bring the bacterial contamination of your gum tissues under control (provided you maintain a high level of oral hygiene at home). But as mentioned, the exact treatment depends on the type of gum disease that you're experiencing.
So while gum disease can mean you won't be able to receive a dental implant as quickly as you hoped, it's certainly not the end of the road. With your dentist's help, you can manage your gum disease, returning your gingival tissues to perfect health—making them a far better site to host your new implant.
Speak to a dentist to learn more about dental implants.