Dental implants can make a smile look fabulous – I know I have them. However, if you are just thinking about getting them, you may have a lot of questions. You may be wondering how smoking affects implants, whether or not wine will stain them, if they can be whitened or other concerns. I also know from experience that it can be intimidating to ask some of these questions to your dentist. In my dental implant blog, I am going to answer the questions that can be hard to ask. I hope you find the info you need in this blog and that it guides you to the right decision about dental implants. Thanks for reading!
Once you've replaced a tooth with a dental implant, you might assume that your new false tooth will just become part of your general oral hygiene routine. However, your dentist may recommend that you start to schedule more frequent appointments with your hygienist after having an implant fitted. Why does your dentist want you to up the ante with professional cleaning?
Keeping Implant Infections at Bay
All of your teeth are at risk of gum disease if you don't clean them correctly. This includes your implants. In fact, implants may be at a higher risk of developing infections quickly if you don't clean them correctly.
Natural teeth get an additional bacteria-busting boost from the ligaments that attach the teeth to bone; implant teeth don't have this ligament and may, therefore, be at a higher risk of gum infections. If an infection takes hold and isn't treated, you may end up with peri-implantitis, a gum disease that can ultimately attack the bone holding your implant. If this happens, your implant may become loose and may need to be removed.
The Challenges of Cleaning Implants
Cleaning an implant tooth isn't generally that different from cleaning your natural teeth. However, it may be harder to reach some areas of your false tooth, such as the spaces between the tooth and the teeth on either side. You may find that the gap between an implant tooth and its adjacent teeth is very narrow. Hard-to-reach areas, such as the back of your false tooth, may also cause problems.
Your dentist should tell you how to clean your implant effectively, and you may be told to use special implant brushes and flosses to help you reach tricky areas. While this may seem a lot of work, it will help avoid bacterial problems. Adding regular visits to your hygienist helps mop up any areas you can't take care of on your own. Your hygienist can also give your false tooth a deep and thorough clean during these visits. This should be enough to maintain the health of your implant, together with your regular oral hygiene routine.
There is no set schedule for how often you should have hygienist visits after having an implant. Some dentists recommend a quarterly clean; others advise you to come in every six months. You may also find that your dentist recommends more frequent visits to start with, cutting down the schedule later once your implant has settled and you have developed a good cleaning routine of your own.