The daily care of dental implants is very much the same as the care of natural teeth — this is one of the reasons they are so widely recommended as a tooth replacement option. When caring for dental implants, it is important to maintain the health of your gum tissue and that of the supporting jaw bone. Drs. John and Sara Gotwalt, dentists practicing in Lititz PA want you to be informed about the best way to care for your dental implants. When dental implants are cared for properly cared for, they can last a lifetime.
Can Dental Implants Get Infected?
Because dental implants are artificial, the implant and crown themselves cannot become infected or develop a cavity. However, the dental implant can be jeopardized when gum tissue around the implant becomes inflamed. This kind of infection — known as implantitis — affects the soft and hard tissues surrounding dental implants.
During the inflammatory process, the same destructive bacteria that cause periodontal infections in natural teeth can form plaque which can eventually become tartar or dental calculus. Calculus, a rough hard deposit, can weaken the supporting gum and bone that surround the implant and hold it in place in the jaw. Once calculus has formed, this deposit cannot be removed by brushing or flossing and can only be removed by a dental hygienist. If this is done it can lead to receding gum tissue and bone loss and may result in the implant falling out.
How To Keep Dental Implants Healthy
To prevent the formation of calculus, dental implants should be kept clean and plaque free by brushing twice a day and flossing, especially after meals. Brushing with an ADA approved toothbrush — paying special attention to all sides of the implant — is needed to keep the implant free and clear of plaque.
The Drs. Gotwalt advise 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
In addition to performing dental hygiene at home daily, be sure to schedule regular visits to Drs. Sara and John Gotwalt. A professional exam and cleaning every 3-6 months is recommended. You should also have your dental implants inspected annually by an x-ray.
What Happens If I Don’t Take Care Of My Implants?
Implants can develop problems without consistent daily care. Bleeding is usually the first sign of a problem. This condition — known as mucositis — can be successfully treated and is reversible if caught early. Unfortunately if it progresses to the point of 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 becoming loose or even falling out.
What Should My Dentist Check For At Every Cleaning?
The Drs. Gotwalt 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 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, the Drs. Gotwalt and their team in Lititz PA are ready to help. Please call us at 717-220-4651 or schedule a consultation online today!