The Link Between Gum Disease, Tooth Loss, and Dental Implants

young girl with thinking smileThanks to advanced dental knowledge and mass-media advertising, gum disease (and its beginning stage, gingivitis) is a well-known dental malady these days. You may recognize that swollen, bleeding gums can indicate the presence of gum disease, and that it’s typically a result of poor oral hygiene. However, did you know that severe gum disease is the leading cause of permanent tooth loss in the United States? Or that, when left untreated, the disease can progress past your gums and infect the jawbone underneath? Encinitas periodontist, Dr. Kania, warns that untreated gum disease may not only destroy your smile through tooth loss, but negatively affect your chances of successfully replacing lost teeth in the future, as well.

Gum Disease and Tooth Loss

Gum disease begins with a bacterial infection and may seem as though it’s not very serious. One of the main contributors to gum disease is the germ Porphyromonas gingivalis, which is found abundantly in dental plaque and has the ability to manipulate your immune system’s inflammatory response to harmful microorganisms. The resulting inflammation can destroy your gum tissue and cause it to separate from your teeth, creating pockets for more destructive oral bacteria to gather and wreak havoc with your gums. The more time that passes, the greater the chance that advancing gum disease can destroy gums and jawbone, and many patients lose one or more teeth by the time they seek treatment.

Gum Disease and Dental Implants

Not only can gum disease lead to tooth loss, it can also affect your chances of replacing lost teeth with dental implants. As prosthetic tooth roots, dental implants require sufficient jawbone structure to fuse to their surfaces and support them. In cases of insufficient supportive jawbone, a reconstructive jawbone graft may be able to reinforce a smile’s foundation and make dental implants possible. Before gum disease advances that far, however, you can prevent the destruction with professional dental care. This includes dental checkups, cleanings and following recommendations as instructed.

About Dr. Ann Kania:

As a board-certified periodontist, Dr. Ann Kania is specially qualified to diagnose and treat issues concerning periodontal tissue and the supportive structures of a patient’s smile, as well as place dental implants for patients with missing teeth. To seek Dr. Kania’s expertise, contact us at (760) 642-0711, or visit our Encinitas periodontist’s office.