The routine care required for dental implants is very similar to the care you should be giving your natural teeth. When caring for dental implants, it is important to maintain the health of the gum tissue and supporting jaw bone in order to get the most out of your implant. Dr. Leah Butler of Butler Family Dentistry in Strongsville, OH wants you to be informed about the best way to care for your dental implants. If implants receive proper care, they can last a lifetime.
Can Dental Implants Become Infected?
Because dental implants are artificial, it is impossible for the implant itself to decay or develop a cavity. However, your dental implant can be jeopardized when gum tissue around the implant becomes inflamed and infected, known as implantitis. Implantitis affects the soft (gum) and hard (bone) tissues surrounding dental implants.
During the inflammatory process, dental implants can become covered in the same plaque and destructive bacteria that cause periodontal infections around natural teeth and, if left undisturbed, this plaque can form dental calculus. Calculus is a rough hard deposit that can eat away at the supporting gum and bone that secure the implant in place in the jaw. Once calculus has established itself, this deposit cannot be removed by brushing and flossing and must be removed by a dental hygienist. Failure to follow through on this can lead to receding gum tissue and bone loss that may result in the implant eventually 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 with an ADA approved toothbrush is especially important. You should brush all sides of the implant.
Dr. Butler 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, but you should also be sure to schedule regular check-ups with Dr. Butler. It is recommended that you have a professional dental exam and cleaning every 3-6 months. You should also have your dental implants examined by x-ray annually to make sure there are no issues lurking under the gum line.
What Happens If I Don’t Take Care Of My Implants?
Implants can develop serious problems without consistent daily care. Bleeding is usually the earliest sign of a problem. This condition is known as mucositis but studies suggest that this issue is reversible and may be successfully treated, if caught early. Unfortunately if allowed to progress to bone loss, also known as peri-implantitis, this is not reversible. 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?
Dr. Butler and her team of hygienists need to probe and measure the gums around the implant the same as they do around your teeth, checking and comparing 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 examined, Dr. Butler and her team at Butler Family Dentistry in Strongsville, OH are ready to help. Please call us at (440) 230-6748 or schedule a consultation online today!