Dental implants have the potential to be lifetime restorations. With proper care and maintenance, they have been shown to last ten, twenty, thirty years or more. One man is going on 50 years with his dental implants. But, like your natural teeth, dental implants are vulnerable to infection.

And the problem is that your mouth is full of potential sources of infection.

woman with jaw pain

Origins of Infection in the Mouth

Oral bacteria are everywhere in your mouth. Many of the bacteria are benign and probably won’t damage your dental implants, but there are some places where harmful bacteria can gather.

Cavities on your teeth are caused by bacteria. Once they develop, these cavities then serve as a shelter for bacteria, allowing them to grow into larger populations. These large populations of bacteria can then serve as jumping-off points for bacteria, which can be distributed through your mouth by normal circulation of saliva, the action of chewing, or even brushing your teeth.

Another place where harmful bacteria can gather is in deep periodontal pockets around your teeth. These may be on the other side of your mouth, but bacteria can spread easily.

But the sneakiest place for bacteria to hide is actually in the bone around the root of nearby teeth. Apical lesions–sores in the bone at the base of a tooth–have often been shown to cause dental implant failure. If you’ve lost a tooth due to gum disease, there may still be some bacteria around other teeth.

Protecting Your Investment

The consequences of missed infection elsewhere in your mouth can be serious. It can cause bone loss around the implant, leading to implant failure. It can lead to the loss of additional teeth. At a minimum, it may require more expensive restorations and revisions later on.

We work hard to avoid these issues. When we are planning your dental implant procedure, we will perform a comprehensive evaluation of your oral health. This will include extensive visual examination of your mouth as well as detailed imaging of the treatment area and other areas in the mouth.

We may detect issues that may need to be addressed before we place your dental implants. This may include filling cavities, performing a root canal, treating gum disease, and potentially even extracting additional teeth. These treatments may seem like they’re not relevant to your dental implant, but they are actually part of our plan to ensure your dental implants last a lifetime.

If you are looking for a dental implant procedure focused on ensuring your implants last as long as possible, please call (949) 551-5902 for an appointment with an Orange County implant dentist at Rice Dentistry in Irvine.