Gum Disease Problems: Why Won't Your Dentist Fit Implants?

9 June 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


If you have advanced gum disease, you may have had one or more teeth removed. Severe gum disease can make teeth so loose or damaged that they need to be extracted rather than treated. While this may be just one part of your gum disease treatment program, losing a tooth leaves you with another problem by creating a gap that you may want filled. You may be keen to have a dental implant to replace your missing tooth; however, your dentist may not be so keen. Why might your dentist refuse to fit an implant to replace a tooth lost to gum disease and do you have alternative options?

How Gum Disease Affects Implant Success

If your gum disease is at an advanced stage, it may increase the chances of implant failure, making it less of a viable solution for your dentist. If you have an implant fitted when you have active gum disease, there is a risk that the implant itself may become infected. If this happens, the implant may fail and may need to be removed.

Plus, as gum disease becomes more advanced, it starts to affect more than just your gums. For example, if left untreated, gum disease may start to affect the bones that support your teeth. These bones may be damaged or lose some of their density. This raises a problem if you're considering replacing a lost tooth with an implant. The implant's post – the part of the implant that attaches to your jaw to hold a false tooth firmly in place – requires an amount of healthy bone to work. Posts are inserted into bone and then become embedded in it. If you don't have enough bone to bond with the implant, then the procedure may fail.

Alternatives to Implants

While your dentist may be loath to fit an implant in the middle of your gum disease treatment, this doesn't mean you can't ever have an implant. This may become more of a viable solution if you are prepared to wait. For example, your dentist is likely to want to fix your gum disease first; you may also be asked to wait for a while after treatment so that your dentist can check that you have taken on board the kind of dental hygiene routine that will keep future gum disease at bay.

Once you have a clean bill of health, your dentist may be happy to try an implant. If your gum disease degraded or damaged your bone, you should bear in mind that you may need treatment to build up bone density to the right levels, such as a bone graft, bfore you can have an implant fitted.

If you don't want to wait for an implant, want an immediate temporary way of filling your gap or worry that an implant solution won't work for you after gum disease, then your dentist will be able to talk you through other options. For example, you may be able to fill missing gaps with dentures and bridges.