Gum disease is a danger to your oral health. Not only does this condition cause gum sensitivity, but it can cause foul-smelling breath and lead to tooth loss. With this tooth loss also comes gum tissue and jawbone loss. For these reasons, people often wonder whether or not gum disease is an automatic disqualifier for implants, and the answer is — it depends.

Treatment Must Be First

If you are diagnosed with gum disease, before you can have dental implants installed, you must first treat the condition. Gum disease is not a self-healing condition. Instead, it will continue to progress unless some changes are made. 

If the implants were installed while your gums were in this vulnerable state, it would only be a matter of time before they failed. Treatment depends largely on how advanced the disease is, but it often includes deep cleaning, oral antibiotics, and a renewed focus on good oral hygiene habits.

Bone and Soft Tissue Grafts May be Necessary

If there has been significant bone or gum loss, a bone or soft tissue graft procedure must be performed before you can be a viable implant candidate. Each of these procedures is designed to build up the bone or soft tissue that has been lost.

This step is very important because for the implant to be successful, it must fuse into the gum and bone. If there is not adequate gum or bone around the implant — it will not work. If you are required to take this step, you will need to wait for the graft to completely absorb into the tissue or bone, so it may delay the installation of the implant.

Ongoing Care is Essential

Once you have the implants installed, you cannot forget about your oral hygiene and health. Implants do not eliminate the risk of gum disease. If regular cleaning, brushing, and flossing do not become a staple part of your at-home oral care routine, the gum disease will return.

However, instead of your natural teeth falling out, the implants will fall out and fail. Your oral health provider will provide you with specific steps you can take to lower your risk for this disease going forward.

If you have gum disease, remember that taking care of this condition should be your priority. 

Visit your oral health provider for more information on how gum disease can affect your implants. You'll be glad you did!