The daily care and maintenance of dental implants is the same as the care of your natural teeth. When caring for dental implants, it is vital to protect the health of your gum tissue and the supporting jawbone in order to keep the implant stable. Dr. Poorva Parnaik of Dental Creations in Medford, NJ wants you to be educated about the best way to care for your dental implants. If implants are properly cared for, this important investment in your dental health can last you a lifetime.
Can Dental Implants Get Infected?
Because dental implants are prosthetic teeth, it is impossible for the implant itself to decay or develop a cavity. However, the lifespan of the dental implant can be jeopardized when gum tissue around the implant becomes inflamed. This kind of infection, known as implantitis, affects the soft (gum) and hard (bone) tissues surrounding dental implants.
While inflamed, dental implants can become covered in the same plaque that leads to tooth decay and periodontal infections in natural teeth and, if left undisturbed, these bacteria can form dental calculus on implants as well. Calculus is a rough, hard coating that can cause the supporting gum tissue to pull away, making the implant loose in the jaw. Once calculus has established itself, these deposits can only be removed by a dental hygienist with special tools. Failing to treat this condition can lead to receding gum tissue and may result in the implant falling out.
How To Keep Dental Implants Healthy
To avoid the formation of calculus, dental implants should be brushed and flossed twice daily to keep them clean and plaque-free. Cleaning your teeth after meals to remove food particles that feed destructive bacteria is especially important. This is accomplished by gently brushing with and ADA approved toothbrush, paying close attention to all sides of the implant.
Dr. Parnaik 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 routine dental hygiene at home daily, but be sure to schedule regular visits to Dr. Parnaik. Dentists recommend that you have a professional exam and cleaning every 3-6 months. Your dentist should also check your dental implants for issues by x-ray annually.
What Happens If I Don’t Take Care Of My Implants?
Without consistent daily care, implants can develop problems. Bleeding is often the first sign of a problem. This condition is known as mucositis and current research indicates that it is reversible and may be successfully treated if caught early. Unfortunately if implantitis progresses to bone loss — peri-implantitis — that is not reversible. If peri-implantitis is not treated it can lead to advanced bone loss and your implant could become loose or even fall out.
What Should My Dentist Check For At Every Cleaning?
Dr. Parnaik and her team of hygienists need to probe and measure the gums around the implant the same as they do around your teeth. They will check and compare x-rays annually, looking for looseness, and making sure that all of the components are properly attached to the implant and are functioning properly.
What If I Want Implants Or Need My Implants Checked?
If you live in Medford, NJ and think you would benefit from implants due to missing or broken teeth or need the implants you already have inspected, Dr. Parnaik and her team at Dental Creations are ready to help. Please call us at 609.365.0673 or schedule a consultation online today!