The routine care and maintenance of dental implants is the same as the care of your natural teeth. When caring for your dental implants, it is crucial to maintain healthy gum tissue and the supporting jaw bone. Smile Dental Group of East Palmdale, CA wants you to be educated about how best to care for your dental implants because, if properly cared for, they can last a lifetime.
Can Dental Implants Get Infected?
Because dental implants are artificial with roots comprised of titanium and a ceramic crown, it is impossible for the implant itself to suffer from decay and develop a cavity or for the “tooth” to become infected. However, the life of the dental implant can be jeopardized when the gum tissue around the implant becomes inflamed due to infection, a condition known as implantitis. Implantitis affects the soft and hard tissues (bone) surrounding dental implants.
When they are inflamed, dental implants can accumulate the same plaque and destructive bacteria that cause periodontal infections in natural teeth and, if left undisturbed, can harden, forming dental calculus. Calculus, also known as tartar, is a rough hard deposit that can eat away at the supporting gum and bone tissues that hold the implant in place in the jaw.
Once calculus has established itself, brushing and flossing alone cannot remove it. It can only be removed by a dental hygienist using special tools. Neglecting to see your Smile Dental Group for treatment of this condition can lead to receding gum tissue and bone loss and may result in the implant becoming loose and falling out.
How To Keep Dental Implants Healthy
To avoid calculus forming or gums becoming infected, dental implants should be kept clean and plaque free by brushing twice a day and flossing — the same as is recommended for your natural teeth by your Smile Dental Group dentist. Cleaning your teeth and gums after meals is especially important. An ADA-approved toothbrush should be used for this to ensure it’s done properly and will not damage the implant and your surrounding teeth or gums.
Your Smile Dental Group dentist 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 be sure to perform dental hygiene at home on a routine basis, but you must also schedule regular visits to Smile Dental Group. It is also strongly suggested you have a professional exam and cleaning every 3-6 months and have your dental implants examined by x-ray annually to check for structural problems.
What Happens If I Don’t Take Care Of My Implants?
Implants can develop significant issues without conscientious daily care. Bleeding from the implant site — known as mucositis — is usually the first indication of a problem. The current research suggests that mucositis may be successfully treated and reversed if seen and treated early enough. Unfortunately, if the condition worsens to the point of bone loss, also known as peri-implantitis, it is not reversible. If peri-implantitis is left untreated it can lead to advanced bone loss and the implant may become loose in the jaw or even fall out.
What Should My Dentist Check For At Every Cleaning?
Your Smile Dental Group hygienist needs to probe and measure the gums around the implant the same as they do around your natural teeth and check and compare x-rays annually, looking for looseness, and ensuring that the bite and all of the components of the implant are still attached and functioning properly.
What If I Want Implants Or Need My Implants Checked?
If you have missing or broken teeth and think you would benefit from implants or need the implants you already have checked out, Smile Dental Group in East Palmdale, CA are ready to serve. Please call us at (661) 463-6530 or schedule a consultation online today!