Q: I am a 60 year old woman with gum disease. Does this prohibit me from having dental implants?
A: Welcome to the general population! At least 80% of adults your age have some element of periodontal, or ‘gum’ disease. Initially, the symptoms are inflamed and tender gums that may bleed if you floss them. This progresses to the point where you have bone dissolving under your gums, around the roots of your teeth. The roots become exposed, and you have the ‘pockets’ that your hygienist will measure for your dentist to monitor the rate of bone deterioration. Teeth become much more sensitive, and much more prone to decay.
If this sounds unhealthy, it is! The good news is that this condition is both preventable with proper care and attention, and reversible. Mother Nature can work pure magic. Take a case where perio disease is rampant to the point teeth are lost. Bone has shrunk, resulting in significant changes to the shape of your face and jaw structure. Today’s dental implants can be placed in this bone resulting in the bone attaching itself to the titanium implant (similar to the root of your natural tooth) and assimilating the implant into the jaw. Bone will grow around this implant, result in a regeneration of lost jawbone. Even in patients over 20 years your senior this process occurs every day. It is entirely possible to regain correct jaw function with dental implant supported teeth, and you can forget the perio problems with that tooth forever.
The reason we dentists harp on about perio problems is that they not only affect your teeth, but they affect every aspect of your overall health. There is concrete proof that periodontal disease contributes to heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s Disease. It can be stopped in it’s tracks with a good hygienic perio program. My goal is to place dental implants that will last your entire life. Your goal should be to provide as healthy a foundation for these implants as possible, because if you do so every other aspect of your physical health will benefit. Wouldn’t you say that qualifies as the ultimate ‘win-win’ situation?
At the Victoria Implant Centre we treat all types of patients. It may be that we must get you on a healthy perio program to ensure our implant procedures have the best foundation for success. I would be delighted to demonstrate how all this works in a FREE consultation at our clinic.