Replace missing teeth with dental implants
Dental implants allow for a replacement of a single missing tooth or several missing teeth. The dental implant replaces the natural tooth root. If you are missing one tooth, you may need a single implant, whereas if you’re missing several teeth you may need an implant supported bridge or an implant retained over-denture. A dental implant consists of a screw that is placed in the jawbone and a crown, which looks like a natural tooth, is anchored to the implant. Dental implants are one of the most viable methods of teeth replacement.
Why is it important to clean my implants?
Bacterial plaque is a sticky film that constantly forms on your teeth and implants. If you do not clean your implant(s) properly, the plaque builds up and can cause gum inflammation called peri-implant mucositis. Your gums may look red, swollen, feel sensitive or bleed easily. This can be reversed, but if plaque is not removed, the bone around the implant will start to break down. Once there is both inflammation and loss of bone around implants it is called peri-implantitis. The implant gradually loses its attachment. This disease often goes unnoticed, so it is important to visit your dental professional regularly to discover problems as early as possible to increase the chance of successful treatment.
Risk factors for peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis
The gums and bone around an implant are far more sensitive to plaque and the build-up of bacteria, than around a natural tooth. The implant attaches directly to the bone, so natural defense mechanisms are limited if not cleaned properly. Inflammation can occur quickly, and it may not always be obvious. Other risk factors increasing potential inflammation and bone loss around an implant include poor oral hygiene, previous or active gum disease, some systematic diseases, smoking and not attending your dental recall visits.
If you experience sensitivity, bleeding, or mobility with an implant seek professional dental care. With excellent oral home care, your dental implant could last a lifetime. Your dental professional will give you individualized recommendations to best suite your needs.
Next week we will explore the TePe Implant Care Kit, which is specially designed for those with implants.