Taking care of dental implants isn’t much different from caring for your natural teeth, which is one reason for implants becoming the gold standard for tooth replacement. Maintaining healthy gum tissue and supporting jaw bone is a priority when you have implants to keep them secure in your mouth. Learn more about caring for dental implants with Dr. Chris Banks, a dentist in Chevy Chase, MD.
Can Dental Implants Become Infected?
The longevity of the dental implant is directly linked to the health of the surrounding gum tissue. Because the implant itself is metal, it will not decay or develop a cavity; however, the gum tissue around the implant can become inflamed. This kind of infection is called implantitis, which 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.
Care for Dental Implants
To avoid calculus formation, it’s essential to keep your implants clean and free from plaque. You achieve this in the same way you clean your natural teeth! Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a low-abrasive toothpaste to brush your teeth, and always be sure to floss around all sides of the implant to remove plaque.
In addition to your at-home oral hygiene, make sure you keep up with your regular dental exams. Your dentist will perform dental X-rays once a year to check on the implant, but you’ll still need your six-month cleanings.
What Happens If I Don’t Take Care Of My Implants?
Bleeding is usually the first sign of a dental implant problem. Implants can develop mucositis, which is treatable and reversible if caught early. If the inflammation leads to bone loss, known as peri-implantitis, your risk of implant failure increases. Keeping implants clean and regularly checked will maximize their lifespan and preserve your functional smile.
Dental Implant Care in Chevy Chase, MD
Dr. Banks and his team are experienced in cosmetic dentistry and can help keep your implants healthy. Schedule an appointment by calling us at 202.769.0324 or request an appointment online today.