The routine 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 healthy gum tissue and the supporting jaw bone in order to ensure the longevity of your implants. Dr. Mark 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.
Can Dental Implants Get Infected?
Because dental implants are prosthetics, it is impossible for the implant itself to decay or develop a cavity in it. However, the life of the dental implant can be at risk of being cut short when gum tissue around the implant becomes infected. This kind of infection is clinically known as implantitis. Implantitis affects the soft (gums) and hard (bone) 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 untreated, these bacteria can form dental calculus. Calculus is a rough hard deposit that can eat away at the supporting gum and bone tissues that surround the implant and hold it in place in the jaw. Once calculus has developed, it cannot be brushed or flossed away and can only be removed by a dental hygienist using specialized tools. Failure to remove these deposits can lead to receding gums and loss of bone tissue that may result in the implant loosening and falling out.
How To Keep Dental Implants Healthy
To avoid the formation of dental calculus, dental implants should be kept clean and plaque free by brushing twice a day and flossing at least daily. Cleaning your teeth after meals is especially important. This is done by gently brushing with an ADA approved toothbrush, paying 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 or your area dentist. 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 Take Care Of My Implants?
Serious issues can develop with your implants if you do not provide consistent daily care. Bleeding is usually the earliest sign of a problem known as mucositis. Although current research suggests that this condition may be successfully treated and is reversible if caught and addressed early enough, this is not true of bone loss. Also known as peri-implantitis, that condition is not reversible. If peri-implantitis is not treated it can result in advanced bone loss and the implant eventually loosening or even falling out.
What Should My Dentist Check For At Every Cleaning?
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 comparing x-rays annually, looking for looseness. They will also check 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, 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!