The routine daily care and maintenance of dental implants is very similar to the care of natural teeth. When caring for dental implants, it is important to maintain the health of the supporting gum tissue and jaw bone. Dr. Brent Engelberg of AH Smiles in Arlington Heights, IL wants you to be informed with the information you need to properly care for your dental implants. If implants are properly cared for, they can last a lifetime.
Can Dental Implants Get Infected?
Because dental implants are prosthetics, it is impossible for the implant itself to decay or develop a cavity. However, the life of the dental implant can be in jeopardy of being cut short when gum tissue around the implant becomes infected. This kind of infection is technically known as implantitis. Implantitis affects the soft (gums) and hard (bone) tissues surrounding dental implants.
Dental implants can become covered in the same destructive bacteria that cause periodontal infections in natural teeth and, if allowed to accumulate and harden, these bacteria can form dental calculus. Calculus is a rough hard deposit that can eat away at the supporting gum tissues and bone that surrounds the implant and hold it in place in the jaw. Once calculus has developed, it cannot be brushed or flossed away and can only be removed by a dental hygienist using special tools. Failure to remove these deposits can lead to receding gum tissue and bone loss and may result in the implant becoming loose and falling out.
How To Keep Dental Implants Healthy
To avoid the formation of dental calculus, dental implants should be kept clean and plaque free by brushing twice a day and flossing at least daily. Cleaning your teeth after meals is especially important. This is done by gently brushing with an ADA approved toothbrush, paying special attention to all sides of the implant.
Dr. Engelberg 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
You should not only perform dental hygiene at home daily, but be sure to schedule regular visits to Dr. Engelberg or your area dentist. It is recommended that you have a professional exam and cleaning at your dentist’s office every 3-6 months. You should also have your dental implants examined by x-ray annually to ensure they are still stable and healthy.
What Happens If I Don’t Take Care Of My Implants?
Major issues can develop with your implants if you do not provide consistent daily care. Bleeding is usually the earliest sign of a problem known as mucositis. The current research suggests that this may be successfully treated and is reversible if caught and addressed early enough. Unfortunately if it progresses to bone loss, also known as peri-implantitis, that condition is not reversible. If peri-implantitis is not treated it can result in advanced bone loss and the implant eventually loosening or even falling out.
What Should My Dentist Check For At Every Cleaning?
Dr. Engelberg and his team of hygienists need to probe and measure the gums around the implant the same as they do around your teeth, checking and compare 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 inspected, Dr. Engelberg and his team at AH Smiles in Arlington Heights, IL are ready to help. Please call us at (847) 230-9703 or schedule a consultation online today!