The daily care and maintenance of dental implants is quite similar to the care of your natural teeth. It is also important with implants to maintain the health of your gums and the jaw bone tissue that supports your dental implants. Drs. Perkins and Barth of Perkins Dentistry in Dunnellon, FL want you to be informed about the best way to care for your dental implants because, when properly cared for, these innovative dental prosthetics can last their recipient a lifetime.
Can Dental Implants Get Infected?
Because dental implants are artificial teeth, it is impossible for the implant itself to develop decay or cavities. However, the longevity of a dental implant can be endangered when gum tissue around the implant becomes inflamed. This kind of infection, known as implantitis, targets the soft (gum) and hard (bone) tissues surrounding dental implants.
Dental implants can become covered in the same plaque and bacteria that lead to tooth decay and periodontal infections in your natural teeth and, if left untreated, these bacteria can even form dental calculus on implants as well. Calculus is when plaque hardens into a rough, hard coating that can cause the supporting gum tissue to pull away, making the implant loose in the jaw.
Once calculus has formed, these deposits cannot be removed by brushing or flossing and can only be removed by a professional dental hygienist using specialized tools. If the calculus is not removed this can lead to receding gum tissue and bone loss and may result in the implant becoming loose or even falling out.
How To Keep Dental Implants Healthy
To avoid the formation of dental calculus and irritated gums, your dental implants should be brushed at least twice daily and flossed every day as is recommended for your natural teeth by your Perkins dentist and the American Dental Association.
Performing regular oral hygiene after meals is especially important for removing food particles that are stuck between teeth and can feed the bacteria that cause tooth decay. You should brush with an ADA-approved toothbrush to make certain you’re not damaging the implant or your surrounding teeth or gums.
Perkins Dentistry 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 dental visits. It is recommended that you have a professional dental exam and cleaning every 6 months.
What Happens If I Don’t Take Care Of My Implants?
Implants can develop serious issues without consistent dental hygiene. Bleeding from the implant site — known as mucositis — is usually the first sign of an issue with the implant. The current research suggests that mucositis may be reversed if spotted and treated early enough. Unfortunately, if the condition continues to the point that bone loss — peri-implantitis — has begun, it is not reversible. If peri-implantitis is left untreated it can lead to the implant becoming loose 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, Drs. Perkins and Barth and their team at Perkins Dentistry in Dunnellon, FL are ready to help. Please call us at (352) 440-5827 or schedule a consultation online today!