Can you have dental implants with receding gums? All you need to know!

Can you have dental implants with receding gums is an important query if you are going through any form of periodontal disease. Common signs of receding gums include bleeding, swelling, pain, irritation, bad breath, and shrinking gum line. If you are experiencing any of these signs, see a qualified periodontist dentist, who can assess the situation of your teeth. Generally, gum health is an important factor for the success of implants. Therefore, it is crucial to make sure your gums are in good health before getting an implant because they serve as the tooth’s foundation.

This article answers the query “can you have dental implants with receding gums” with everything you need to know:

What are the causes of receding gums?

If you think you have receding gums, you might be questioning, can you have dental implants with receding gums? Before anything, it is important to know if you are really suffering from receding gums. The success of dental implants depends a lot on the condition of your tooth or gums. If bone loss is intense and the gums supporting the tooth are loose and receding, implants may not work. In case you are wondering, here are the most common causes of receding gums:

  • Genetics and age
  • Harsh brushing
  • Hormones
  • Bruxism or teeth grinding
  • Insufficient dental care
  • Excessive smoking/alcohol

Now let’s look into these causes in more detail.

Genetics and age

 

Research in the connection between dental health and genes suggests that your genes determine the shape of your jaw. Malocclusion or bite irregularities are also a result of your genetic composition.

Studies also suggest that some people because of their genes are more prone to periodontal disease. Along with this reasoning, age also impacts your gum health. If you do not take care of your oral health, your gums start to recede over time and that affects the underlying bone of the tooth. It mostly results in swelling or bleeding of the gums, and in extreme cases, it leads to gingivitis and tooth abscesses too.

Harsh brushing

Sometimes our habits cause problems for our teeth. One of the most common mistakes people make is harsh brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush. The effects don’t show immediately but over time, your gums begin to recede along with bleeding and irritated gums. The best thing one can do to avoid receding gums is to invest in a soft-bristled toothbrush, ideally an electronic one. Sometimes a quick dental evaluation and meeting with your dentist work to find the right toothbrush for yourself.

Hormones

Another factor that affects gum health is hormones. They affect women more because they go through a whirlwind of hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Hormonal fluctuation among females mostly causes gum health issues. It also causes receding gums leading to a loose tooth or sensitive, irritated gums.

Due to hormonal imbalance, the flow changes in progesterone and estrogen, gums become sensitive. It also affects the blood flow to the gums causing irritation and bleeding. The only way to prevent this from happening is by eating healthy and exercising. Minimize your stress as much as you can for balancing your hormonal system.

Bruxism or teeth grinding

Receding gums make your teeth look long and unattractive. Sometimes it is not in the control of the patient due to conditions like bruxism or teeth grinding. While someone is teeth grinding, they put a lot of unneeded pressure on their teeth by clenching all night. It harms the teeth in many ways from cracks and deformation to receding and bleeding gums. A night guard or bite guard protects your teeth while you grind your teeth at night.

Insufficient dental care

Poor dental care leads to many dental problems and complications. Receding gums is one of the most common issues occurring due to a lack of oral care. If you are consistently not taking care of your teeth, a layer of plaque or tartar forms on your teeth. It is essentially bacteria or a buildup of toxins that slowly causes the gums to recede. This is why it is important to maintain a consistent oral care routine to make sure your gums are healthy.

Excessive smoking/alcohol

It is a known fact that excessive and uncontrolled usage of smoking or alcohol leads to many oral health complications. Researches predict that smoking and alcohol consumption leads to loose teeth due to periodontal attachment. It overall affects your immune system and slows down your body’s response to infections and other oral issues. Therefore, if you want to protect your gums from damage, limit or discontinue smoking and alcohol usage.

Do dental implants work with receding gums?

It is a fact that receding gums cause complications if you are willing to get dental implants. However, with a proper dental evaluation, your dentist can guide you and offer treatment options. The treatment depends on the stage of the gum recession; there are three ways of treating receding gums:

  • Root planning and scaling
  • Gum grafting
  • Pin-hole surgery

Here’s an in-depth look into these dental treatments:

Root planning and scaling

When plaque keeps building up around the tooth, gums become weak and pull away from the tooth. Normal brushing only allows one to clean the exterior or visible parts. Root planning and scaling are procedures to clean the areas you cannot reach.

It is a fairly simple procedure to get rid of bacteria living below the gum line and in areas you cannot reach. Root planing is a process in which the dentist removes debris from the root of the tooth. The roots are then smoothed out so that the gum tissue heals and goes back to its original state.

Scaling is another way of deep cleaning the gums and the tooth to remove plaque and debris. Here is a tutorial video for a better understanding of how they work:

Gum grafting

Dental grafting is a way to supplement bone loss or gum tissue to bring back the tooth to its original state. There are grafting procedures in dentistry, bone graft, gum graft, and sinus lift. The gum grafting technique is more common for treating receding gums before getting an implant. In this procedure, the gum tissue is transferred from one part of the gum to the part where the gum is receding. This technique allows the supplementation of gum tissue where it’s missing. This way the exposed tooth roots are covered and the tooth functions normally again.

There are three techniques of gum grafting:

  • Connective tissue grafting
  • Free gingival grafting
  • Pedicle grafting

Connective tissue grafting

It is an autograft procedure in which a dentist creates a flap and takes a layer of tissue called subepithelial tissue from under the topmost layer. The dentist then stitches the palatal flap back to its original position.

The removed tissue is attached to the exposed area of the tooth with stitches. After a few days, the stitches dissolve and the tooth starts to function normally. This type of gum grafting is less invasive than free gingival and gives better aesthetic results. The graft seamlessly blends with the gum and looks completely natural.

Free gingival grafting

Another gum grafting technique is free gingival in which the dentist takes gum tissue directly from the roof of the mouth. There is no need for creating a flap to take gum tissue in this procedure.

This grafting method is more suitable for patients with thin gums and who need additional tissue to thicken the gums. Moreover, is somewhat more invasive than the connective tissue method because it involves removing the tissue directly.

Pedicle grafts

In this grafting procedure, instead of taking gum tissue from the roof of the mouth, it is taken from the adjacent gum area. The dentist creates a partial flap called a pedicle flap and pulls the gum up to cover the exposed tooth.

The gums are stitched carefully and the patient is then given instructions for post-op care. This type of grafting technique is more successful in patients with plenty of gum tissue available. However, leave it to your dentist to choose what’s best for your situation.

Here are a few basic gum grafting facts:

Pin-hole surgery

It is a relatively new technique for the treatment of gingival recession, also known as a lunchtime gum lift. It is a lot less invasive and time-consuming than the other procedures.

This procedure involves making a pinhole in the gums present at the root of the tooth. The dentist then stretches the gums towards the crown of the tooth gently with the help of a device. To keep the gums in place, collagen strips are passed through the pinhole instead of stitches. Collagen promotes cell production and eventually the gums stay in their new position.

FAQs on implants with receding gums 

Here are the queries we usually receive on implants with receding gums. We hope they can give you even more infos on the procedure and receding gums. Let’s start!

Can you replace receding gums?

Receding gums are replaceable through the process of gum grafting. In the grafting technique, dentists graft gum tissue from one area to another. The end goal is to cover the root of the tooth to save it from further damage. If you leave gum recession as it is, it leads to bigger complications such as tooth loss, gingivitis, and tooth abscess.

Do gums grow back after a dental implant?

Gums cannot grow back after the implant naturally. However, there are ways of grafting gum tissue before the implant so the implant functions normally. After the placement of the implant, the gums heal and support the implant. Therefore, it is important to have healthy gums before getting an implant.

Will you lose your teeth if you have gum disease?

Periodontal disease or gum disease leads to tooth loss if it is left untreated. The reason for this is that gum diseases such as gum recession expose the root of the tooth. It makes the tooth prone to diseases because there is no protection and bacteria easily enter the root. Gum diseases make the foundation of the tooth weak and in extreme cases, it leads to tooth loss.

What happens if I get gum disease after an implant?

Getting an implant does not completely eliminate the chances of gum disease. Oral hygiene plays a crucial role in the longevity of your implants. Therefore, it is important for you to be consistent and thorough with your dental care. Make sure to regularly brush, floss, and visit your dentist every few weeks. It prevents gum diseases as well as other dental issues and complications.

When is it too late for gum graftings?

Basically, never. Gum grafting is a treatment for patients with advanced gum recession. Doctors suggest other treatments for patients with less serious conditions. If your tooth roots are exposed, the first thought of intervention will be stretching the gum over this area. Gum grafting can be a better option if there isn’t enough gum tissue to cover the area. Also, your condition may change the content of the treatment. For example, sometimes the patients experience bone loss in tooth roots. If there is bone loss, a bone transplant can be necessary. In short, gum grafting is possible as long as you have gum tissue to be transplanted from another part of your mouth.

References:

Malhotra R, Kapoor A, Grover V, Kaushal S. Nicotine and periodontal tissues. J Indian Soc Periodontol. 2010;14(1):72-79. 

https://www.news-medical.net/health/Are-Genes-Involved-in-Tooth-Decay-and-Gum-Disease.aspx

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