Whether you already have a dental implant or are planning for one in the future, knowing how to care for it properly is essential. Proper oral hygiene and regular professional dental care will help to protect your investment for years to come.
A dental implant is the tooth replacement option that most resembles a natural tooth. It consists of a metal post, which is securely placed in the jawbone, and a dental crown. A dental implant looks, acts and feels like a natural tooth. Implants can replace a single tooth or multiple teeth. They can also be used to secure complete sets of dentures.
Excellent oral hygiene to remove dental plaque is vital. Dental plaque is made of communities of bacteria that if not cleaned away on a daily basis can lead to issues with your implant. Even though a dental implant is not susceptible to cavities like natural teeth are, there is still a risk of gum inflammation and bone loss.
Peri-implant mucositis- This is when the inflammation is only affecting the soft tissues (gums) around the implant. There is no bone loss with this condition, and it can usually be reversed. If this condition persists, it may lead to peri-implantitis.
Peri-implantitis- A destructive inflammatory condition very similar to periodontal disease. The soft tissues and bone are affected and may even lead to implant failure.
Signs of inflammation are redness, bleeding, swelling or discomfort around your dental implant. However, some symptoms may be hard to detect in some patients due to certain habits. If you notice any of these, it is essential to see a dental professional.
Brush- Make sure to brush at least twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Avoid whitening or abrasive toothpaste when brushing dental implants and crowns.
Floss- At least once daily you must use floss to clean the areas your toothbrush can’t reach. If you have a fixed implant-retained denture, you may need to use floss threaders or a Waterpik.
Professional cleanings- It is possible for tartar, a calcified bacteria-laden build-up, to form on your dental implant. However, having it removed on a regular basis will be an essential part of your implant care. Your dental professional will be able to monitor the health of your dental implant closely and intervene if any issues arise.
Since everyone’s mouth is different, the best oral hygiene advice will come from your dental professional. For some, simply brushing and flossing is enough. Others may need to use additional tools such as interdental brushes or an antimicrobial mouthrinse. See your dental professional to discuss your individual needs.