Dental implants are a very commonly used dental prosthetic to replace missing teeth and stabilize dentures to improve their function, comfort, and appearance.
If you want your implants to last as long as possible, there are certain techniques and habits you can employ to keep them clean. Bacteria and plaque lead to infections in the gum tissues near the implants, and this can cause implant failure.
What Happens if I Don’t Take Care of My Dental Implants?
If they aren’t properly cared for every day, implants will start having problems. One of the early signs of a complication is bleeding. Bleeding is often a sign of mucositis or mouth sores. If we catch this condition early, we can treat it successfully and even reverse it.
However, if it progresses to a later stage known as peri-implantitis, you can start losing bone. This bone loss is not reversible. If left untreated, peri-implantitis can cause advanced bone loss and loss of the implant as well.
It’s very important to keep your gum tissue and underlying bone healthy to preserve your implants. Since implants don’t have any structures found in natural teeth, they can’t decay or develop cavities. Another periodontal problem that threatens implant stability and success is peri-implantitis. This is an inflammatory process that damages hard and soft tissues near dental implants. Bacteria can also grow on the implants themselves and damage the adjacent teeth and gums.
The best way to preserve your dental implants is to practice good oral hygiene and good overall health. Here are some recommendations:
Brushing and Flossing
Brush and floss your teeth two times a day, both in the morning and in the evening. We recommend soft-bristle toothbrushes and low-abrasive, tartar-control toothpaste. Make sure to brush around and underneath the implant crown. You can access the hard-to-reach places with a nylon coated interdental brush.
When you floss, use either unwaxed tape or a type of floss designed specifically for implants and make sure to clean around the abutments. We might also prescribe antimicrobial mouthwash, oral indicators, or disclosing tablets which stain the locations of plaque accumulation.
Diet and Exercise
You should also eat a balanced diet, steering away from foods high in sugar. We also recommend brushing right after meals, if possible. Regular physical exercise is also recommended. If you stay in good overall health, you can keep your mouth healthy as well.
Dental Check-ups and Professional Cleanings
Also, make sure you come into our office once every six months for dental check-ups and professional teeth cleanings. Dental hygiene scalers used for natural teeth will scratch implants and other prosthetics like crowns and abutments. When you come in for cleanings, we’ll instead use special devices made of resins and plastics to clean your implants without damaging them. We also examine your dental implants with an X-ray at least once a year.
To accurately assess the health of your implants, we’ll need to probe and measure your gums around the implant, reexamine and compare X-rays, check for any looseness, look at your bite, and inspect all of the components attached to the implant to ensure they’re functioning as they should.
If you have questions or concerns about dental implants, feel free to call our office at (346) 250-3575.