Whether you have natural teeth or dental implants, the care for them is very similar. One of the most important aspects of caring for dental implants is to be sure to maintain the supporting jaw bone and healthy gum tissue surrounding the implant. At MAC Dental, Dr. Jacob McLauchlin in Nixa, MO wants your dental implants to last a lifetime. He will keep you informed on the best way to care and keep your smile looking its best.
Dental Implants and Infection
Can dental implants get infected? The short answer to this is no since the implant itself is artificial and thus not able to decay and develop a cavity. However, the gum tissue surrounding the implant can become inflamed and infected which can impact the longevity of the dental implant. The resulting infection is called implantitis and can affect the hard and soft tissues around the dental implant.
Implantitis is a destructive inflammatory process. While dental implants are artificial, they can still become covered in the bacteria that cause natural teeth to become infected. If the bacteria is not kept in check, it can cause dental calculus to form. Dental calculus are rough hard deposits that can eat away at the healthy bone and tissue surrounding the dental implant. This can only be removed by the dentist and cannot be removed with regular flossing and brushing. Should implantitis occur and not be treated, it could lead to bone loss and the implant could fall out.
Caring for Dental Implants
The best way to keep implantitis at bay is to keep the bacteria from forming in the first place with good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing twice a day, especially after meals is one of the most important things you can do for your smile. When brushing, you should use an ADA approved toothbrush and pay careful attention to brushing all sides of the implant.
Dr. McLauchlin offers these tips:
- Using a small ADA-approved toothbrush, either a manual or an electric, your preference
- Tatar-control toothpaste, low-abrasive
- Dental floss each tooth, including around the dental implants
- Antimicrobial mouth rinses to reduce the amount of bacterial in the mouth
The most important tip, along with daily oral hygiene, is to schedule regular visits with your dentist and have a professional cleaning every 3-6 months. Additionally, the dental implants will need to be x-rayed annually.
Consequences of Not Taking Care of Implants
As with anything, if you don’t take care of it, dental implants can develop problems. One of the earliest signs that there is an issue is with gum bleeding, which is called mucositis. According to research, if this condition is caught early enough, it can be treated and reversed. Should the condition not be treated in time or effectively, it can progress to bone loss. This condition is call peri-implanitis. This is not reversible. The risk is that the implant could become loose and even fall out.
What Does My Dentist Need to Check at Each Visit?
Dr. McLauchlin and his team will check your implants that same way that they check your natural teeth. The gums will be probed and measured. X-rays will be taken and compared to the previous year’s films. The implant will be checked to see that all the parts of the implant are attached and functioning properly.
Nixa, MO Dental Implants
Whether you have implants or think you might need implants due to missing or broken teeth, Dr. McLauchlin and his team in Nixa, MO are here to help. Please call us to schedule your consultation today at 417-202-0932.