Patients who seek treatment for tooth loss often got into that situation due to advanced decay or gum disease. Understandably, they want to ensure that those conditions will not compromise whatever replacement tooth method they choose.

This is of particular concern to patients who have chosen a tooth implant, which involves a significant investment of the patient’s time and money, to replace the absent tooth. So, our patients often ask if a dental implant is prone to cavities or gum disease.

The tooth implant is a post that is made of titanium, a metal that is not directly affected by the oral bacteria that cause cavities. Those bacteria only affect biological tooth material, so they will not cause cavities in any prosthetic crowns or arches that are supported by the dental implants.

Although dental implants are not directly susceptible to the effects of cavity-causing bacteria, the devices can be compromised by uncontrolled gum disease. In this way, gum disease that advances to affect the quality of bone can cause implant failure if that bone becomes too weak to support the implant.

This is why your oral surgeon likely will recommend that you have any gum disease treated before proceeding with dental implant placement. Even if you have not been diagnosed with periodontal disease, the oral surgeon will thoroughly examine your gums as part of the dental implant planning process. You may be referred for periodontal treatment if needed to increase the likelihood of good surgical outcomes.

It is also essential for patients who receive dental implants to keep good oral hygiene habits to prevent a recurrence of past gum disease (or prevent it from developing in the first place.) Patients with dental implants should also be sure to visit their dentists at least every six months for professional cleanings and check-up.

Dental implants are not susceptible to cavities, but gum disease can lead to negative outcomes for dental implant patients. Discuss any concerns you may have about this aspect of your oral health with our oral surgeons before dental implant placement.