How’s life with dental implants? Almost all of the patients we see at our Orlando office are simply thrilled with the results of their implant procedure. They’re able to chew their favorite foods again, smile with ease, and live life without having to constantly worry about their teeth. It’s a huge relief!
Caring for implants can be simple, but that doesn’t mean you can just go back to your average lazy brushing habits. There are a few big differences between teeth and implants that make caring for them require a bit more discipline than simply caring for natural teeth. You won’t need to do anything out of the norm, but you will have to be thorough with what you do!
Dental Implants: The Big Difference
We can’t quite regrow teeth yet, but implants are a close second to the real deal. They look, feel, and behave just like natural teeth because they’re built to perfectly mimic them. Your implants are titanium screws that are bonded directly to the bone of your old tooth’s socket, forming a connection just as secure – if not more so – than a natural tooth.
That’s where the similarities end and the differences begin, however. Implants interact with you body very differently, making caring for them just a little bit different.
For starters, your dental implants are bonded directly to your jawbone. Titanium is really good at osseointegrating, or binding to bone, which is why it’s used in most implants throughout your body. Your natural teeth, however, actually sit in the socket on top of a thin layer of tissue called the periodontal ligament. The ligament is made up of a bunch of fibers that run from your tooth to the bone of your jaw, forming a bunch of cable-like connections between the two.
The periodontal ligament runs from the very bottom of the root all the way up to the gumline, and is great at keeping out bacteria and making it easier to prevent gum disease. An implant, however, has no connection to the ligament. Even up toward the gumline your implant, abutment, and crown are connected directly to the gum tissue. Unlike the ligament’s strong fibers the gums only act like suction cups.
What That Different Connection Means For Your Implants
Implant surgery is almost 100 percent successful, but there are cases where implants fail over time. Some of those cases are due to incorrectly placed implants, but plenty more are due to peri-implantitis: a gum disease-like infection around a dental implant.
It’s easy to develop gum disease – all you have to do is let bacteria slip below the gumline. Now imagine how easy it is for bacteria to get between an implant and your gums without the periodontal ligament to protect it! This is the biggest care concern for dental implant patients: it’s essential to keep bacteria out from around your implants – the alternative is eventual implant loss!
How To Care For Your Implants
Implant care doesn’t have to be tricky: it’s just like caring for natural teeth, only with a bit more thoroughness involved.
- Brush twice a day. Make sure that when you brush you hold the bristles at a 45 degree angle to your gumline. This helps get down into the gums and sweep away bacteria that could be making their way inside. Each brushing session should last at least two minutes and should include all the surfaces of your teeth and implants.
- Floss daily. There aren’t any exceptions to this rule, especially if you have implants. The space between your teeth is the most vulnerable in your mouth, and if you want to prevent gum infections and implant loss you have to do it daily!
- See us regularly. Dental checkups are even more important now than they used to be. With regular care we can identify problems early, treat them fast, and keep your implants safe, sound, and stable for life. There’s no reason to lose them with proper care!
Don’t Let Your Investment Fall Right Out
Your dental implants don’t need to be at risk if you take good care of them. As always, Overmeyer Dental Care is here for you with any questions, concerns, or problems you have during the days following your implant procedure and for as long as you need answers.
If you’re worried that you might be at risk for an implant infection don’t hesitate to call us right away. You can reach our Orlando office at 407-603-3839. We look forward to helping you!