Dental implants have the ability to last a lifetime, partly because they are immune to decay that can threaten your natural teeth. But that doesn’t mean that cavities aren’t a danger to your dental implants–cavities in your other teeth can actually pose a threat to your dental implants.
Origins of Infection in the Mouth
Our mouths are full of oral bacteria. Many of these oral bacteria probably aren’t going to be a danger to anything in your mouth, although some say they can be co-opted to participate in an infection.
However, there are some bacteria that are known to be harmful to your teeth and gums, and especially to your dental implants. These bacteria can congregate in certain areas in your mouth. For example, oral bacteria can cause cavities because of the acids they excrete. Cavities aren’t just damage to your teeth, they are new shelters for oral bacteria, protecting them from your toothbrush and making an excellent base from which to launch new attacks throughout your mouth.
Harmful bacteria can also congregate in deep pockets beside your teeth as part of gum disease. These deep pockets, like cavities, are partly created by the bacteria themselves, whose damaging acid causes your gums to detach from your teeth.
These bacteria don’t stay in your cavities and gum pockets. Chewing and even the normal circulation of saliva through the mouth can transport these bacteria from their hiding places so they can set up new colonies on the surface of your dental implants.
But there are even sneakier places for bacteria to hide. One place where bacteria could be hiding is at the roots of nearby teeth. In sores known as periapical lesions, bacteria have made homes for themselves at the roots of your nearby teeth. These bacteria can migrate through your bone to attack the dental implants, and unless we do a thorough evaluation before we place your dental implants, we might be none the wiser until your dental implant or your natural tooth starts showing problems.
Protecting Your Investment
Untreated infection anywhere in your mouth can lead to serious problems for your dental implants. This may include the loss of the implant. It may even lead to the loss of one or more other teeth as well.
To avoid these infection-related problems for your dental implants, we include comprehensive exams for your mouth as part of the dental implant process. We want to make sure that your dental implant won’t be jeopardized by infection elsewhere in the mouth. If we think it’s prudent, we may recommend other dental treatments–such as gum disease therapy–before or at the same time as the placement of the dental implant.
This may seem like an excess of caution, but, trust us, it’s worth it. And you’ll be thanking us when your implant lasts twenty, thirty, forty years or more.