The daily care of dental implants is very much like caring for your natural teeth. Just like with your natural teeth, it is important to maintain the healthy gum tissue and the supporting jaw bone when you have dental implants. Dr. Harry W. McCool in Lilburn, GA 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 artificial, it is impossible for the titanium implant screw itself to decay or develop a cavity. However, the lifespan of the dental implant can be at risk when gum tissue around the implant becomes inflamed due to poor oral hygiene. This kind of infection is known as implantitis and it 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 untreated, these bacteria can form dental calculus. This calculus, a rough hard deposit, can eat away at the supporting gum and bone that surround the implant and hold it in place in the jaw. Once calculus has begun, 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.
How To Keep Dental Implants Healthy
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 an ADA approved toothbrush, giving special attention to all sides of the implant.
Dr. McCool 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. McCool. 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 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. McCool and his team in Lilburn, GA are ready to help. Please call us at (770) 450-4407 or schedule a consultation online today!