Having a beautiful smile is something we all dream of, but sometimes tooth loss makes it necessary to consider treatments such as dental implants. Gaps where teeth used to be are far from a merely aesthetic problem, since they can lead to bigger problems. If you are considering having implants placed, you may wonder what type of maintenance they will require. In this post, we highlight the importance of keeping implants clean and healthy so they last long-term.
How Can Implants Help Us?
Missing teeth can cause much pain and discomfort. As noted by Dr. Carl Metz DDS of Vibrant Dentistry, dental implants help us eat properly, ensure we have a proper bite, and prevent bone loss and jaw pain. This Mesa Dentist additionally notes that when we lack teeth, our facial contours can change and wrinkles can appear in areas such as the side of the mouth. Dental implants can help us enjoy food and smile with confidence, as we did before we lost any teeth.
Why Do Dental Implants Need Cleaning?
Some people wonder why dental implants need cleaning at all, bearing in mind they exist to replace the tooth root. In fact, implants need greater care than we may understand, because natural teeth are attached to bone via ligaments. Implants do not have this natural attachment and the area surrounding them are therefore less able to stave off infection.
The Result of Lack of Dental Hygiene for Implants
The same kind of plaque that settles on our teeth also sits on crowns, making daily cleaning a must. Otherwise, an infection called peri-implantitis can occur, which causes bone loss in the area surrounding the implant. When the implant has nothing to attach to, it becomes loose and needs to be removed.
Caring for dental implants is very similar to caring for natural teeth; brush them alongside your natural teeth twice a day and floss afterwards. Use a quality electric toothbrush to clean the crown and gumline from all angles, and consider additional products such as antimicrobial mouth rinses and interdental brushes, if the space between teeth is sufficient enough for these cleaning aids to fit.
To be on the safe side, consider using disclosing tablets, which leave a bright tint on areas you have not cleaned well.
In addition to daily cleaning, professional cleaning by your dental hygienist is important. They may recommend that you pay them follow-up visits two or three times a year, to check for signs of infection or bleeding. If problems are detected early, they are reversible, while if bone loss has already arisen, the implant will need to be removed.
Implants are an excellent solution to tooth loss, but we need to pay great attention to keeping them clean and infection free. Using the right brushing technique and tools and visiting your dental hygienist as required will ensure your implants last for a lifetime, the way they were intended to.