You may be considering dental implants to restore your smile but have questions about what kind of care they will need. Fortunately, the maintenance care of dental implants is very similar to the routine care of your natural teeth. When caring for dental implants, it is important to maintain the health of the gums and the jaw bone tissues that are supporting them. Dr. Mark Sowell of Sensational Smiles in Plano, TX wants you to be informed about the best way to care for your dental implants. Implants can last a lifetime if properly cared for.
Can Dental Implants Get Infected?
It is impossible for the implant or crown themselves to develop a cavity because they are wholly artificial. A dental implants’ longevity can be compromised when gum tissues around the implant becomes infected and inflamed. This kind of infection is known to dentists as implantitis. Implantitis affects the soft (gums) and hard tissues (jawbone) surrounding dental implants.
The crowns of the implants can become covered in plaque alive with the same destructive bacteria that cause periodontal infections and, if left undisturbed, the plaque can form dental calculus.
Calculus is hard and rough and can eat away at the supporting gum and bone that surround the implant and hold it securely in place in the jaw. Once calculus has established itself, it cannot be removed by brushing and flossing and can only be removed by a dental hygienist using specialized tools. Failure to treat this can cause receding gum tissue and bone loss and may even result in the implant falling out.
How To Keep Dental Implants Healthy
To avoid calculus forming on your crowns, they should be kept clean and plaque free by brushing twice daily and flossing between implants as you would natural teeth. Cleaning your teeth after meals is especially important. This is accomplished by gently brushing with an ADA approved toothbrush, making sure to to get 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 routine dental hygiene at home daily, but you should also schedule regular visits with Dr. Sowell or your area dentist for a professional exam and cleaning. This should be done every 3-6 months as recommended by your dentist. Your implants should also be examined with an x-ray annually.
What Happens If I Don’t Take Care Of My Implants?
Problems can develop with implants without consistent daily care. Bleeding is usually the first and most obvious sign of an issue. This condition is known as mucositis and it can be successfully treated and is reversible if caught early according to current research. Unfortunately, this is not true if it is allowed to progress to bone loss — also known as peri-implantitis. If peri-implantitis is not stopped it can cause advanced bone loss and eventually implant can become loose or even fall out.
What Should My Dentist Check For At Every Cleaning?
Dr. Sowell and his team of hygienists at Sensational Smiles need to probe and measure the gums around the implant the same as they do around your natural teeth. They will check and compare x-rays of your teeth 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 Want Implants Or Need My Implants Checked?
If you think you would benefit from implants due to missing or broken teeth or need the implants you already have inspected, the team at Sensational Smiles in Plano, TX are ready to help. Please call us at (972) 382-6855 or schedule a consultation online today!