How to Maintain Implants
At Oregon Periodontics, P.C., we offer dental implants as an option for replacing missing teeth. While a fairly recent development, dental implants have quickly become the treatment method of choice. With the number of benefits that they provide, it is easy to see why. Implants are comfortable, they look and feel completely natural, and they help to maintain the strength and integrity of your jawbone, preventing the bone loss that typically follows tooth loss. However, just because your implants are not real teeth, that does not mean they do not need to be cared for. In fact, taking care of your implants is critical to their success and longevity. They may not require as much maintenance as options such as dentures, but regular care will help to ensure that they stay in top working order.
How Important Is Implant Maintenance?
Implant crowns are made from ceramic. They cannot experience tooth decay and cavities like a natural tooth could, but that does not mean they can be ignored. Just like your enamel, ceramic can collect plaque and oral bacteria, both of which can cause decay on adjacent natural teeth as well as gum disease. Even if all of your teeth have been replaced with dental implants, regular maintenance is crucial. If gum disease occurs, the gum tissue can pull away from the teeth, forming pockets. As the bacteria fall below the gumline, they start attacking the jawbone, including the bone around your implants. The bone weakens as the disease progresses, greatly increasing your risk of implant failure.
Caring for Your Implants at Home
Oral care starts in your very own home. According to the American Dental Association, or ADA, you should be brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day. This holds true for implant crowns just as much as it does your natural teeth. Each time you brush, you should do so for two minutes, making sure to cover every area of the teeth. Use a soft bristled brush and gentle, circular motions. Be careful not to brush too hard, as this can lead to gum recession, as well as enamel wear on any natural teeth remaining. When you floss, use an 18-inch piece of floss wound between your middle fingers, leaving a two-inch long space between them. Gently move the floss back and forth to get the floss between your teeth, and scrape it up and down the sides of each tooth. Make sure that you also floss behind your very back teeth as well.
Professional Oral Care and Your Implants
Along with home care, routine professional care is also a must. Even if all of your teeth have been replaced with implants, regular cleanings and exams can help to prevent serious oral health complications. Your cleaning is just like the cleanings that you have had done when all of your teeth were natural. We work to remove all buildup from the surfaces of your teeth and polish the teeth to a beautiful finish. When we examine your mouth, we check for signs of decay, damage, and disease. We will even inspect your crowns for signs of damage. If we find anything, we will perform the necessary repairs on your crowns to ensure that your implants, and your mouth, stay in good working order.
Regular maintenance is essential for your implants as well as your oral health. If you have any questions or concerns, call Oregon Periodontics P.C. today at (503) 575-7750.