Don’t Kill your Implants!

The new trend in restorative dentistry has become to go a step beyond the basics of tooth replacement. A good percentage of patients who need to close a gap or restore an arch with artificial teeth choose to also reinstate the proper substructure. We’re talking about roots, and we’re talking about dental implants.

Dental implants are the tiny titanium posts that a dentist inserts into the bone of the jaw. The procedure does not hurt nor does it require a lengthy recovery. What does take time is the integration of bone around each implant post? Once this occurs, the idea is that implants will remain stable for life. It is the permanence of implants that makes treatment cost-effective and successful. That being said, patients should not form the idea that implants cannot fail. They can, and they most likely will if good care is not provided.

The Dangers of Inflammation

Inflammation is a danger that affects the gums. In most cases, we hear this referred to as gingivitis. However, for the implant patient, inflammation can go to a whole new level – one you want to avoid. The condition known as peri-implantitis describes inflammation that has developed in the bone around an implant post. If you have peri-implantitis around one implant, that does not necessarily mean that all implants are affected. One of the most concerning aspects of peri-implantitis is not extent, but the lack of symptoms. Because there is no pain associated with this deep inflammation, a patient may not realize that bone has deteriorated until the artificial tooth becomes loose

The Culprit of Peri-implantitis

There are a few reasons for implant failure and a few factors that may incite inflammation around a titanium post. One of the most common is, fortunately, also preventable. A prevalent cause of peri-implantitis is a lack of good oral hygiene. Even if all of your teeth have been replaced with ceramic alternatives, plaque can still form at the gum line. Your gums are alive, and they can be weakened by the acidity of plaque. Over time, the inflammation caused by acidity travels inward, toward the bone, and the implant is at risk.

Because plaque starts at the uppermost layer of gum tissue, it’s spread can be stopped. Talk with your dentist about how to care for your implants with good brushing and flossing habits, and make sure to maintain twice-a-year checkups with your Houston dentist. What a simple way to preserve the life of your smile!

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