The routine care and maintenance of dental implants is exactly the same as the care of your natural teeth should be. To ensure the longevity of your dental implants, it is crucial to maintain healthy gum tissue and the supporting jaw bone. Drs. Tara Vogel, Keith Levesque and Adrian J. Levesque Jr. of Levesque Dentistry in Nashua, NH wants you to be educated about how best to care for your dental implants because, if properly cared for, they could last you a lifetime.
Can Dental Implants Get Infected?
Because dental implants are artificial with a titanium screw as a root and a ceramic crown, it is impossible for the implant itself to succumb to tooth decay and develop a cavity or for the “tooth” to become infected. However, the lifespan of the dental implant can be jeopardized when the gum and jawbone tissue around the implant becomes inflamed due to infection, a condition known as implantitis.
When bacteria is allowed to flourish in your mouth due to neglect, 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 — tartar. Tartar is a rough hard deposit that can inflame your gums and erode the bone that surrounds the implant and holds it in place. Once calculus has gained a foothold, this deposit cannot be brushed or flossed off and can only be removed by a dental hygienist using specialized tools. Failure to do this 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 calculus forming or gums becoming inflamed, dental implants should be kept clean and plaque free by brushing twice a day and flossing as is already recommended for your natural teeth by your Levesque dentist. Performing regular oral hygiene after meals is especially important. An ADA-approved toothbrush should be used for this to make sure it’s done properly and will not damage the implant or your surrounding teeth or gums.
Your Levesque Dentistry dentist 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 routinely at home daily, but be sure to schedule regular visits to Your Levesque Dentistry dentist. It is recommended that you have a professional cleaning and examination, complete with annual x-rays, every 3-6 months to ensure that your gums are healthy and your implants are functioning properly.
What Happens If I Don’t Take Care Of My Implants?
Implants can develop serious issues without conscientious daily care. Bleeding from the implant site — known as mucositis — is usually the first sign of a problem. The current research suggests that mucositis may be successfully treated and reversed if spotted and addressed early enough. Unfortunately, if the condition worsens to the point that bone loss has occurred, also known as peri-implantitis, it is not reversible. If peri-implantitis is allowed to go untreated it can lead to advanced bone loss and the implant may become loose or even fall out.
What Should My Dentist Check For At Every Cleaning?
Your Levesque Dentistry dentist and their 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 correctly and 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, your Levesque Dentistry dentist and their team at Levesque Dentistry in Nashua, NH are ready to help. Please call us at (603) 547-9203 or schedule a consultation online today!