Dental implants may have a reputation for being one of the most robust and long-lasting of all dental restorations, but any solution is only as good as the care that you continue to give it after your procedure. You are responsible for taking care of your oral health, and if you fail to do so, it isn’t just your natural teeth that will be at risk.
Unfortunately, many people believe that since their implant is artificial, they don’t need to worry too much about keeping it clean. This is far from true. Not only will brushing and flossing around it help to ensure it looks as good as the day that you received it for as long as possible, it will also help protect your dental implant from the one condition that will put it at serious risk – periodontal disease.
Protecting your dental implants from periodontal disease
Before you receive your dental implants, your dentist will speak to you about the importance of protecting your teeth and mouth from periodontal disease. This is because periodontal disease presents the biggest threat to the longevity of your implants.
If we don’t brush our teeth properly, plaque will start to build up across them. Eventually if it is not removed, it will spread onto and under the gum tissue, causing irritation, swelling and soreness. This is the start of gum disease, also known as gingivitis. At this stage you may notice that your gums feel tender and are bleeding when you brush your teeth. If the gum disease is not dealt with at this stage it will continue to progress until infection sets in. When this happens, the infection can cause severe pain and the gums start to pull away from the teeth exposing the root. The jaw bone can also be affected by the infection and will start to deteriorate. If this happens, the implant post that provides the anchor for your prosthetic tooth may come loose and your implant could fall out.
Protecting your dental implants from periodontal disease is crucial and for this reason, the majority of the care that is recommended for them is based around preventing this dental condition.
Don’t underestimate the importance of brushing your teeth
Most of us are taught to brush our teeth twice a day from an early age. However, regular brushing for at least 2 minutes each time is something that often falls by the wayside as we get older and busier. We may not brush as well as we once did, or for as long. However, proper brushing is the single most effective thing that you can do to combat periodontal disease. Make sure you clean your teeth for at least the recommended two minutes using a soft-bristled brush twice a day. Opt for a fluoride toothpaste and pay close attention to the area where the teeth meet the gums as this is where plaque is most likely to develop.
Do the floss!
No, we aren’t talking about the dance craze but the thin tape that is used to get in-between your teeth and remove bacteria and food debris that contributes towards decay and periodontal disease. If you aren’t sure how best to floss your teeth, ask your dentist to show you some techniques.
Stub out the cigarettes
Many people don’t realize just how bad smoking can be for their teeth as well as their overall health. As well as causing unattractive yellow stains, studies have also shown that smokers are at increased risk of developing periodontal disease. If you can stub out the cigarettes, your health and your smile will benefit.
Visit your dentist regularly
Hopefully you already visit your dentist every 6 months for regular check-ups. These are particularly important if you have dental implants as your dentist has the training and experience to be able to spot potential problems that could threaten the longevity of your dental implants. By identifying these early and starting treatment promptly, you can enjoy great dental health and ensure your implants last as long as possible.
Want more advice on the best way to look after your implants? Please contact our friendly and experienced dental team by calling our offices.