Caring for your dental implants
To ensure long-term success of your dental implants maintenance is key. Implants do not develop cavities like your natural teeth but they do accumulate plaque and tartar which can lead to other problems such as soft tissue inflammation, infection and bone loss if not cared for properly.
Inflammation and infection that surround your dental implant is known as peri-implantits. This can lead to bone loss around the implant which can further result in the loss of the implant. Dental implants have a very high success rate. Studies indicate over 95% of implants have long-term success but this number drops significantly if proper care is not practiced.
Avoiding implant failure
Caring for your dental implant is very similar to caring for your natural teeth. Brushing at least twice a day with a soft bristle toothbrush (manual or electric) and regular flossing is a good start. There are other products specifically designed for implants which allow you to access hard to reach areas while maintaining a smooth and polished surface.
Products for implant maintenance
Companies such as TePe and GUM have come out with a line of products specifically for dental implants.
Soft picks and interdental brushes are good for getting in between teeth and implants. Their soft rubber tips prevent abrasion to the implants. Using harder materials on the implant can result in scratches which harbor bacteria.
A compact tuft can be used for hard to reach areas under dental bridges and around abutments. This angled brush has a small round tuft which is ideal for precision cleaning.
TePe makes a floss that is specific to dental bridges and implants. Its elastic material makes it easier to clean where space is limited.
Your dentist also plays a large role in keeping your dental implants free of infection, making routine cleanings just as important as home care. Instruments such scalers, curettes and ultrasonics are used to combat stubborn, dense tartar without causing any damage to the implant. Your dental team has years experience using these instruments passively. Do not attempt to use hard instruments yourself as you may cause damage to your implants.
Signs that you may have peri-implantitis
In the early stages of peri-implantits you may experience some symptoms such as swelling and discoloration of the gums around the implant, bleeding while performing routine hygiene regime and sensitivity surrounding the implant. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to make an appointment with your dentist so they can evaluate the bone and tissue and provide necessary treatment. If caught early enough you can prevent severe bone loss and save your implant.
As peri-implantitis evolves more severe symptoms will surface. These symptoms include mid-to-sever pain, abutment secreting blood and/or pus, implant exposure and mobility. Although prognosis decreases once peri-implantitis is at a severe level it is crucial that you see you dentist so they can confine and treat infection.
If you have any questions about implant maintenance or peri-implantitis contact our professionals at Perfit Dental Soultions today.