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Choosing Dental Implants To Keep Gums Healthy After Tooth Removal

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You are likely to have some oral health problems as you age.  The extent of these issues depends on how well you take care of your teeth and how often you see your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.  Good nutrition is also important if you want to maintain your teeth.  If you have generally ignored your teeth and gums, then your dentist may need to remove several of your teeth due to serious levels of decay.  These teeth should be replaced for both health and cosmetic reasons.  Dental implants and partial dentures will be two options your dentist will discuss with you.  Some people feel that dental implants are better than dentures, and this is true if you want to help encourage good gum health.  There are many reasons why this is the case; for example:

Dentures and Gum Tissues

When you want a partial denture, your dentist will wait approximately eight to twelve weeks for your gums to heal.  Afterwards, your dentist will take a mold of your gums and the remaining teeth in the vicinity.  A precise model will be created out of plaster, and another mold will be created to form the acrylic base of the denture at a lab.  The laboratory technician will also figure out where metal attachments or clasps should be placed to keep the denture secured against the remaining teeth in the mouth.  You will then wear this denture over the healed gums.

Unfortunately, partial and full dentures rarely fit precisely right away.  This is often why your dentist will ask you to make four or more appointments within the four or five weeks after your partial denture is fitted.  The gums will settle over time on top of the jawbone.  Your dentures will be loose when this happens, and they will irritate the gums and cause sores to form.  These sores, along with the natural thinning of the tissues underneath the dentures, can result in recessed tissues.

Dental Implant and the Gums

Dental implants, on the other hand, do not cause distress to the gum tissues.  During the initial phase of the dental implant operation, your gums will be opened wide and pulled back away from your jaw.  This occurs as your dentist creates two flaps on either side of the jawbone that are pulled aside to reveal the bone.  The jawbone will be drilled and the titanium implant root will be secured strongly in the hole.  The jawbone will need to fill in around the dental implant root.  Sometimes, the gum tissues may start to fill in the hole around the root device.  Your dentist or oral surgeon may try to keep this from happening by placing titanium mesh around the ridge of the jawbone.  This way, the gum tissues can form on top of the mesh while bone cells can fill in around the dental implant. 

After the implant root and the mesh is secured, your oral surgeon will set the gum flaps over the jawbone and stitches will close the incision.  A cap or device called an abutment will be secured at the end of the dental implant root to keep the gums from healing over the root device.  Generally, the gum tissues will heal normally and fully, and they will retain the same health and thickness that they did before your oral surgery.  The implant itself will have no effect on the gums after healing occurs.

Gum Care After Surgery

The only time your gums are at risk of becoming unhealthy with a dental implant is directly after surgical placement.  However, you can easily reduce infection concerns and thinned gum tissue problems by taking care of your gums properly.  Use salt water rinses as directed by your oral surgeon to gently clean the gum tissues.  Also, brush your teeth and gums gently and use prescription mouthwashes that are given to you.  Typically, you will need to use the rinse four or five times a day in conjunction with, or in place of, salt water rinses.  The fluid contains a strong antibacterial agent that will minimize gum infection risks.

Missing teeth should be replaced to help maintain your oral health.  If you want to keep your gums healthy when tooth replacements are secured, then go with dental implants.