2 Dental Implant Options That Can Prevent Oral Damage From Dry Mouth

Dry mouth or xerostomia occurs when your natural saliva production slows or stops. The condition can occur due to certain prescription medications, salivary gland inflammation or cysts, or a simple predisposition. Long-term lack of saliva can start to cause damage to your teeth and gums as saliva contains chemicals that thwart harmful bacterial plaque buildups.

The bacteria can especially take hold in areas difficult or impossible to reach with a toothbrush, such as the bottom edge of a dental crown or the root canal inside the tooth. Bacteria growing in those areas can lead to infection, rapid decay, and the potential for recurring infections in the same teeth.

If you have certain teeth that are falling victim time and again, your dentist might recommend extracting the teeth and replacing the natural teeth with dental implants. The implants don't have an exposed edge as with the crown and are made of a resin that is better at warding off plaque and not vulnerable to plaque-related decay. 

There are two main types of dental implants that can replace your natural tooth.

Endosteal Implant

An endosteal implant is the standard type that most people think of when hearing the words "dental implant." Your dentist will drill a channel into your jawbone and fit a metal screw down into that channel. The area is left to heal until the bone fuses around the screw to provide stability.

A metal post is then attached to the top of the screw and the gums are left to heal back around the post. A false tooth is then attached to the post to provide the actual replacement for the missing tooth.

Because the base of the implant is buried deep within the jawbone, the increased plaque from dry mouth is unlikely to affect the stability of the implant. And the false tooth snaps tightly over the post and sits on the gums so there isn't room under the tooth for plaque to take hold.

The one potential problem is if you already have jawbone damage if your dry mouth related decay has advanced that far.

Subperiosteal Implant

A subperiosteal implant doesn't start with a metal screw in the jawbone. Instead, the artificial tooth is supported on a metal framework that straddles the jawbone and is held in place by the overlaying gums. The positioning means that this type of implant can work if you have weakened jawbone due to periodontal disease caused by dry mouth.

Subperiosteal implants might not feel as stable as the traditional implants, but this implant could still be a good match for you if you have weak bone. You might also opt for this type of implant if you don't want to wait for the long healing processes involved with a traditional implant.

Discuss this option with your dentist during your next visit. Make sure that you also keep up with any prescribed dry mouth treatments so that you can help keep the plaque accumulations around your teeth down to a minimum. Contact a local dentist, like Dental Images, for more information.