A dental implant a reliable and aesthetic tooth replacement solution. During the treatment process, a titanium and biocompatible post is set into the jaw, serving as the tooth’s new root. Then a crown or other fixed restoration is attached to the top of the implant, via an abutment.
Getting a dental implant is a large financial investment and in order for it to last as long as it’s intended, you must make a lifelong commitment to care for it. With proper maintenance, a dental implant can and should stay with you for decades.
What Can Go Wrong with A Dental Implant?
While predictable, there are three main things that may compromise the effectiveness of a dental implant.
- Bone loss around your implant site
- Decay on adjacent teeth
- Loose implant/abutment
Preventing Bone Loss Around Your Dental Implant
Since the implant is fused into your jaw, it’s crucial to ensure that your bone stays healthy enough to support the structure for the long term. Gum disease leads to bone deterioration, which can cause the implant to loosen or even fall out. Once the bone is gone, it will not grow back; so gum disease is an important matter that you’ll need to take steps to prevent as soon as possible.
- Brushing Your Teeth
An electric toothbrush is the best tool to keep on hand if you have a dental implant. It helps you be more aware of your brushing technique and can remove more plaque in less time, compared to a manual brush.
No matter what type of toothbrush you have, brushing your teeth at least twice daily will help prevent plaque and tartar buildup from taking over, which is what causes the infection that leads to gum disease and bone loss.
When you brush, make sure that you tilt the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward the gums, because this is where most biofilm tend to collect on teeth.
- Flossing Your Teeth
Since brushing, no matter how well you do it, can’t remove all the plaque between your teeth, it’s important to floss while you’re at it. While the crown (artificial tooth over your implant) isn’t going to decay, the gums around your implant can become infected if you don’t keep them clean. Peri-implantitis is the implant version of gum disease, and is the most common cause of implant failure.
Regular floss is useful for removing food that’s been left behind by your toothbrush. Our hygienists can show you the proper technique to use. Essentially, what you want to do after you guide the floss down, is to wrap it around your implant and rub it up and down against the side, cleaning your implant thoroughly.
A more effective tool for removing interproximal plaque is the use of an air or water flosser. This is a handheld device that squirts a powerful burst of air or water between your teeth, flushing away debris. While this piece of equipment will be more of an investment, it is highly recommended for patients with implants due to its ease of use and effectiveness.
- Professional Dental Cleanings
Once the process of getting your dental implant is complete, you’ll still need to make regular trips to the dentist. Having professional dental cleanings at least once every six months will allow our dental hygienists to enter the hard to reach areas of your mouth to remove buildup left behind by your toothbrush and floss.
- Dental Check-Ups
During your dental cleanings, we check all of your teeth, measure your gum levels, and take x-rays to ensure that everything is healthy. These steps are important because you can’t always tell something is wrong just by looking.
How To Avoid Decay On Adjacent Teeth
If you don’t clean around your implants each day, the teeth next to them may get cavities. Brush and floss daily, following the above-mentioned directions. Otherwise the infection won’t just jeopardize your remaining teeth, but it will also affect your implant between them!
How To Prevent Your Implant From Getting Loose
Though your implant and its crown are very strong, you may want to use caution when eating certain foods to prevent the components from loosening. For example, you ought to avoid eating hard things like ice, nuts, and peanut brittle.
Dental Implants in Mesa, AZ
If you have a dental implant or are thinking about replacing missing teeth, then schedule an appointment at Eastport Dental in Mesa, AZ. We’ll be happy to provide you with all of your dental and implant needs. Call today!