Cleaning and Maintaining Your Dental Implants

Dentist Tools

Dental implants can last just as long as natural teeth, if not longer. We work with all our patients to make sure that the unique designs that make up your dental implants come with the insights you need to make sure they last as long as possible. Most patients report a minimum lifespan of at least 25 years, but with proper care they can last a lifetime. However, like with your natural teeth, dental implants can suffer serious failures if they aren’t cared for as well as your natural teeth.

There are many things that can lead to dental implant failure. Some factors, including diabetes or other pre-existing medical conditions such as cancer, can give patients a higher chance of dental implants failing. Osseointegration can occur, which is a failure of the bone to heal in the short-term, whereas peri-implantitis, or an infection of the gums and bone, can occur in the long-term. Without proper care, the screws that hold implants in place can break and the abutments that connect implants can loosen. Although your implant hardware won’t decay, the gums and natural tissues around them can.

Fortunately, the kinds of care and treatment that can prevent these issues are also the things we all need to do in order to maintain our natural teeth. Brushing twice a day is always the goal, but those with implants should also switch to a soft-bristle toothbrush, and a toothpaste with a low abrasiveness level. Interdental brushes also help with cleaning below and around the implants.

Visiting the dentist for regular cleanings is even more important. The dentist’s expert eye can spot minute issues that could eventually lead to fractures, or decay that might indicate periodontal (gum) disease. Dentists also use professional oral irrigators to clean where brushes and floss can’t. These oral irrigators, also known as dental water jets or water toothpicks, are also available for consumers to purchase and use at home.

One of the most important signs to keep an eye out for is swelling in or around then gums. Gum disease can be treated to stop the infections, but it can be a long process. The best approach is always to keep the gums around these implants as healthy as possible. Natural teeth or connected through periodontal ligaments, which contain antibody-rich blood vessels that can help fight infection. When those ligaments are are replaced by dental implants, the area can be more susceptible to infection and/or gum disease.

You can read more about dental implants, what they are, and how they’re installed, on our Implants Q&A Page. If your dental implants need a check-up, or if you feel like your smile could benefit from dental implants, call us today or make an appointment online anytime.

Author
Belmont Dentistry

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