The routine daily care of dental implants is very similar to how you should care for natural teeth. When caring for dental implants, it is crucial to maintain the health of your gum tissues and the supporting jaw bone. Dr. Abraham E. Stein of the Stein Center for Advanced Dentistry in Skokie, IL wants you to be educated about the best way to care for your dental implants. If implants are properly cared for, they can last their owners a lifetime.
Can Dental Implants Get Infected?
Because dental implants are artificial, the implant itself is impervious to decay and cannot develop a cavity. However, the longevity of the dental implant can be in jeopardy when gum tissue around the implant becomes infected and inflamed, known as implantitis. Implantitis affects the soft and hard tissues surrounding dental implants.
During the inflammatory process, dental implants can become covered in the same destructive bacteria-ridden bacteria that cause periodontal infections in natural teeth and, if not removed, this plaque can form dental calculus. Calculus is a rough hard deposit that can make the gums recede and eat away at the supporting bone tissue that holds the implant in place in the jaw. Once calculus has established itself, this deposit cannot be brushed or flossed off and can only be removed by a dental hygienist with specialized tools. Not scheduling and keeping appointments with your dentist 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 at least once a day. Cleaning your teeth after meals with an ADA approved toothbrush, giving special attention to all sides of the implant, is especially important.
Dr. Stein 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. Stein. 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 first sign that there may be a problem with your implant. 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 Should My Dentist Check For At Every Cleaning?
Dr. Stein and his team of hygienists need to probe and measure the gums around the implant to make sure they are healthy. This is done in much the same way as they would do with your healthy teeth. Dr. Stein will check and compare the condition of your implant in the jawbone and under the gum tissue using x-rays and will inspect them, 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 might benefit from implants due to missing or broken teeth or need the implants you already have inspected to ensure their longevity, Dr. Stein and his team at the Stein Center in Skokie, IL are ready to help. Please call us at 847.920.4747 or request an appointment online today!