FAQ: How to Care for Dental Implants

cosmetic dentistryThe daily care of dental implants is very similar to the care of natural teeth. When caring for dental implants, it is important to maintain the health gum tissue and the supporting jaw bone. Dr. Sowell of Sensational Smiles in Plano TX wants you to be informed about the best way to care for your dental implants. If implants are properly cared for, they can last a lifetime.

Why Do I Need to Care For My Dental Implants?

Because dental implants are artificial, it is impossible for the implant itself to decay or develop a cavity. However, the longevity of the dental implant can be in jeopardy when gum tissue around the implant becomes inflamed. This kind of infection is known as implantitis. Implantitis affects the soft and hard tissues surrounding dental implants.

During the inflammatory process, dental implants can become covered in the same destructive bacteria that cause periodontal infections in natural teeth and, if left undisturbed, these bacteria can form dental calculus. Calculus is a rough hard deposit that can eat away at the supporting gum and bone that surround the implant and hold it in place in the jaw. Once calculus has established itself, this deposit cannot be brushed or flossed off and can only be removed by a dental hygienist. Failure to do this can lead to receding gum tissue and bone loss and may result in the implant falling out.

To avoid the formation of calculus, dental implants should be kept clean and plaque free by brushing twice a day and flossing. Cleaning your teeth after meals is especially important. This is accomplished by gently brushing with and ADA approved toothbrush, giving special attention to all sides of the implant.

Dr. Sowell advises using the following:

  • Small, soft, ADA-approved manual toothbrush or an electric brush
  • Low-abrasive, tartar-control toothpaste
  • Dental floss for cleaning around the implant
  • Antimicrobial mouth rinses

Not only should you perform dental hygiene at home daily, but be sure to schedule regular visits to Dr. Sowell. It is recommended that you have a professional exam and cleaning every 3-6 months. You should also have your dental implants examined by x-ray annually.

What Happens If I Don’t Care For My Dental Implants?

Implants can develop issues without consistent daily care. Bleeding is usually the earliest sign of a problem. This condition is known as mucositis. The current research suggests that this may be successfully treated and is reversible if caught early. Unfortunately if it progresses to bone loss, also known as peri-implantitis, that is not a reversible condition. If peri-implantitis is not treated it can lead to advanced bone loss and the implant loosening or even falling out.

What Should My Dentist Check For At Every Cleaning Visit?

Dr. Sowell and his team of hygienists need to probe and measure the gums around the implant the same as they do around your teeth, checking and compare x-rays annually, looking for looseness, and checking the bite and that all of the components are attached properly to the implant and are functioning properly.

What if I Need Implants Or Need Existing Implants Checked?

If you think you would benefit from implants due to missing or broken teeth or need the implants you already have inspected, Dr. Sowell and his team at Sensational Smiles in Plano TX are ready to help.  Please call us at (972) 382-6855 or schedule a consultation online today!