While you may think dental Implants, being artificial teeth, give you an excuse not to brush and floss on a regular basis, think again because gum disease can ruin everything. Teeth and gums still need good and consistent oral hygiene in order to maintain dental implants. This keeps them from the harmful effects of gum disease.
How dental implants work
Dental implants are done via surgical procedures to replace missing teeth. This procedure is done by inserting the implant directing into the jawbone where a crown (the tooth) is finally attached. Dental implants can be inserted to replace a singular tooth, multiple or even replace all the teeth. The implants can also be used to support removable dentures.
Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease. Gum disease is particularly harmful to the maintenance of dental implants. The bacteria and plaque that adhere to the gums and turn into tartar start to accumulate and form spaces in the inner layers of the gums. Eventually, these areas become infected. This causes the gums to become inflamed and sensitive as the body’s immune system attempts to fight the infection off. This can be noted by sensitive and bleeding gums.
Left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis. When gingivitis advances to periodontitis the bacteria in these inflamed spaces within the gums start to release toxins that start breaking down the gums and bone in the jaw. These spaces are completely out of the reach of any toothbrush or floss. Healthy adult teeth will fall out without anything to adhere to. Dental implants will also no longer be secured due to bone loss. This will result in dental implants having to be removed as they can not be kept intact without anything to anchor to in the mouth.
Signs of gum disease
Here are some signs you may have gum disease and your dental implant is at risk:
- Bleeding gums with brushing
- Red, swelling or sensitive gums
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums
- Abscess in the gums caused by an infected space
How to prevent it
Proper oral hygiene. If you want to prevent the loss of your dental implants oral hygiene is the most effective option. This entails frequent flossing and brushing, including at the dental implant sites, as well as seeing your dentist for checkups and cleanings on a regular basis. These visits to your dentist should happen at least every six months, more if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease.
Certain illnesses and medications can also contribute to gum disease. This makes it important to educate yourself on any increased risks you may have for gum disease. Bad habits, such as smoking, are also major contributors, and smoking cessation would greatly assist in preventing any gum diseases.
If signs of gum disease are present, prompt treatment and oral hygiene education are the primary methods to interrupt its progression. Healthy lifestyle changes can keep dental implants in place and fight off the gum disease that could lead to the loss of more teeth or the implants themselves.
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