Dental implants are a popular tooth replacement treatment because of how easy it is to care for them. The most important thing to remember is that keeping the gum tissue and supporting jaw bone healthy will ensure that your implants will remain stable and secure in your mouth. Dr. Mark S. Jefferies is a restorative dentist in Herndon, VA who wants you to take proper care of your dental implants for a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles.
Can Dental Implants Get Infected?
To understand how to care for implants, take some time to learn about whether dental implants can get infected. Because dental implants are artificial, it is impossible for the implant itself to decay or develop a cavity. However, the longevity of the dental implant can be in jeopardy when gum tissue around the implant becomes inflamed. This kind of infection is 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 that cause periodontal infections in natural teeth and, if left undisturbed, these bacteria can form dental calculus. Calculus is a rough hard deposit that can eat away at the supporting gum and bone that surround the implant and hold it 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. Failure to do this can lead to receding gum tissue and bone loss and may result in the implant falling out.
Caring For Dental Implants: Keeping Implants Healthy
Keep your oral health in check and avoid calculus formation by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Cleaning your teeth after meals is especially important. This is accomplished by gently brushing with and ADA approved toothbrush, giving special attention to all sides of the implant.
Dr. Jefferies 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. Jefferies. 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 earliest sign of a problem. 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.
Restorative Dentistry in Herndon, VA
If you think you would benefit from implants due to missing or broken teeth or need the implants you already have inspected, Dr. Jefferies and his team are ready to help. Please call us at (703) 570-1152 or schedule a consultation online today!