Denture Stabilisation & Cavities

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There is a wealth of contradictory information about infections and dental implants, with different sources claiming that implants can complicate incidences of periodontal disease, while others stating that this dental procedure can in fact combat such conditions. In this article we look at the facts surrounding dental implants and tooth decay, also referred to as cavities.

Dental implants are one of the pioneering developments of modern dentistry, allowing people with missing teeth access to better prosthetics that more closely resemble our natural teeth in terms of how they work and how they feel. Implants are titanium structures embedded and fused to the jawbone and act as artificial roots for dentures and crowns, providing a firm linkage between artificial teeth and the jawbone beneath. The stability provided by dental implants can allow access to a broader range of foods and reduces discomfort previously associated with dentures amongst many other benefits.

Oral health and dental implants are closely tied together, with poor oral hygiene often leading to the loss of teeth and the need for dental implants. Poor hygiene and resulting gum disease can also act as risk factors that reduce the chances of a successful dental implant procedure.

In the following section we will look at the relationship between cavities, caused by tooth decay, and dental implants.

Are dental implants vulnerable to cavities?

As mentioned briefly above, dental implants are titanium structures, and therefore not susceptible to cavities themselves. Cavities are the result of bacterial action on the hard substances that make up a tooth. When bacteria flourish in a mouth frequently exposed to sugary foods and subject to poor oral hygiene, the processes by which they digest those foods (called fermentation) release potent chemicals that can digest our teeth. The result is what is called a cavity, and a condition called tooth decay. In theory any infection or other event that would compromise the strength and stability of dental implants would be detrimental to their primary function, which is to stabilise prosthetic teeth.

Fermentation can’t affect the titanium of a dental implant in the same way, and as such an implant itself is not susceptible to the condition.

That being said, the poor oral hygiene and diet associated with cavities can have a dramatic effect on the success of dental implants. Implants are left to heal after being placed in the jawbone and beneath the gum line, during this time they are also left to fuse with the jawbone. Poor oral hygiene is closely linked to the failure of dental implant procedures, which occurs when the healing and fusion process (referred to as osseointegration) does not occur successfully.

Considering the fact that dental implant procedures are invasive and surgical, as well as extremely costly, their success is an important factor in determining whether or not a candidate is suitable for the surgery.

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