The daily care of dental implants is very similar to the care of natural teeth, which is what makes them such a popular tooth replacement treatment. With proper care, your dental implants can last for the rest of your life with no issues at all. Bethesda, MD dental practice Bethesda Family Smiles wants to help you protect your oral health, so take some time to learn about how to care for your dental implants so they can keep your smile healthy for life.
Can Dental Implants Get Infected?
To understand how to care for implants, take some time to learn about whether dental implants can get infected. 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.
Caring For Dental Implants: Keeping Implants Healthy
Keep your oral health in check and avoid calculus formation by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. 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.
Bethesda Family Smiles 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 your 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?
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?
Your dentist needs 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 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, Bethesda Family Smiles is ready to help. Please call us at 301.500.2205 or schedule a consultation online today!