Dental implants may look and function like your natural teeth, but since they are made of artificial materials, your dentist may want you to care for your implant in a different way. While routine brushing and flossing may be sufficient if you are consistent and have good oral health, your dentist may also recommend that you use special products for cleaning your implant. Here's why caring for your implant properly is so important.
Plaque Forms On Implants Too
While you don't have to worry about an implant developing cavities, you should still be concerned about the buildup of plaque because that can affect the health of your gums. Brushing twice daily and using floss helps keep plaque under control, but you'll also need regular dental cleanings so the hygienist can use special tools to clean the implant properly. One tip to keep in mind is to use a toothbrush with soft bristles when brushing your implant.
Hard bristles may scratch the tooth or the abutment and create tiny grooves that allow bacteria to grow and multiply. This can lead to inflammation of the gums. Your dentist may recommend oral hygiene products for cleaning your teeth that include soft toothbrushes, unwaxed dental floss or floss made for implants, a water jet, interdental brushes, and soft rubber picks. Your dentist may also recommend mouth rinses that control bacteria around the implant.
Bacteria And Inflammation Can Cause Implant Failure
If you're not able to maintain good oral hygiene with your implant, then your gums may become inflamed in the same way you develop gingivitis and gum disease when you don't brush your natural teeth. When the redness, bleeding, and inflammation develops around an implant, it is known as peri-implantitis. This condition requires treatment from your dentist and hygienist as well as daily care at home.
Just like early gum disease, peri-implantitis can often be reversed with thorough cleaning and good oral hygiene. If the condition is allowed to advance, the infection can spread under the gum and into your bone. If the bone becomes weak, it may no longer support the implant. Then, the implant becomes loose and may fall out.
You can avoid problems with your implant by following the directions for home care that your dentist and hygienist provide. If you have a medical condition such as diabetes that might affect your oral health, be sure to let your dentist know so a customized plan of oral care can be developed for your situation to keep your mouth healthy. Daily care will help you get many years of life from your implant and keep your smile looking its best.