Can You Get Dental Implants If You Have Gum Disease?

Dr. Kyle Hornby

Hi! My name is Kyle Hornby and I'm a Dentist in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. A few times a week, I sit down at my keyboard to produce blog articles that help dental patients to better understand oral health and dental treatment options. In today's blog post, I'd like to address the question, "Can you get Dental Implants if you have Gum Disease".

So, before I get to an answer on this, it's important to have a basic understanding of what a dental implant is as well as what happens you suffer from Gum Disease.

First, I'd like to talk about dental implants.

What are dental implants and how do they work?

Great question. A dental implant is made up of 2 basic sections: the dental implant itself (which is a surgical screw placed in your jaw) and the crown or "tooth" that goes on top of it, allowing you to chew and eat.

When your Kitchener Dentist places the implant screw, your jaw bone must fuse to it over a healing period of 12 weeks. For this to happen, it helps if you have healthy gums and jawbone and no systemic illnesses that might affect healing or the immune system.

How come?

Well, healing requires healthy blood vessels in the jaw to bring nutrition and bone-building cells to the implant site. The more bone you have, the greater the blood supply brining adequate nutrition. If you have local infection or a weak immune system, this can lead to post-operative infections and compromised healing, too.

You also need lots of jaw bone to support your dental implant and absorb chewing forces.

So, basically, a large volume of jaw bone at the treatment site is the name of the game when it comes to implant stability and success.

Now, let's talk about Gum Disease and how it might affect the outcome of dental implant therapy.

What is Gum Disease or Periodontitis?

Gum Disease (also known as Periodontitis), involves a progressive loss of gum and bone attachment to your teeth over time. The result is a progressive loosening of teeth as they lose anchorage and stability.

Typically, Periodontitis is driven by inflammation that occurs in the absence of proper oral hygiene. To be specific, leaving food and plaque around and in between your teeth causes inflammation which can lead to Gum Disease. In some cases, however, Gum Disease can be caused by smoking, diabetes or other systemic illnesses.

Now, let's put it all together to answer the question, "Can you get Dental Implants if you have Gum Disease?"

Dental Implants with Gum Disease: Can it work?

So, to recap, when it comes to dental implant stability and longevity, the more jawbone the better. Jawbone anchors implants and its ability to heal around, and fuse to, dental implants affects long-term success rate.

When Gum Disease is active, a patient is continuously inflamed and losing gum and bone tissue. Gum Disease sufferers also carry a higher bacterial load and are more prone to localized infections that could compromise healing from implant surgery.

So, if you suffer from active Gum Disease (Periodontitis), you are likely to experience a failure of dental implant therapy in the near or distant future.

It is important, however, to distinguish between active and arrested Periodontitis. Arrested Periodontitis means that the patient has successfully managed risk factors to stop progression of the disease. A patient with arrested Periodontitis is stable but has lost bone around their teeth in the past, when Periodontitis was active.

Why does this distinction matter?

Well, there are bone grafting and bone regeneration procedures that can rebuild sufficient jaw bone to enable successful implant therapy.

Therefore, patients with arrested Gum Disease are often suitable candidates for successful dental implant therapy.


The takeaway message from this article is that implant therapy and active Gum Disease don't go together. Undergoing dental implant therapy in the context of active inflammation, infection, and bone loss will lead to poor long-term treatment outcomes. A patient and their Kitchener-Waterloo Dentist must first identify sources of active Periodontitis to control the disease before exploring dental implant therapy.

By Dr. Kyle Hornby, Kitchener Dentist

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This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Dentist or other healthcare providers regarding a dental condition or treatment.

Enjoy a fresh start.
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