Dental implants in Mankato have an extremely high success rate — but that does not mean they are risk-free. In rare cases, an infection called peri-implantitis develops. Bacteria invades the tissue around the implants and eats away at the gums and bone much the same way it does with a natural tooth. If the infection gets bad enough, it could cause the dental implants to fail altogether. How can you reduce the risk that your dental implants will suffer from such a fate? Here are some simple tips to help you out.
Focus on Oral Hygiene
Proper oral hygiene practices can fight the buildup of harmful bacteria in the mouth. You should:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. This is important whether you have just one implant-supported tooth or an entire mouthful.
- Floss at least once a day. If you have an implant-supported bridge, you must remember to floss beneath the restoration.
- Use an antibacterial mouth rinse. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist for recommendations on which product to use for your unique mouth.
- Visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist may remove your restorations in order to thoroughly inspect and clean around the implants. Any indication of early signs of infection can be treated promptly.
Manage Your Overall Health
Any health condition that affects your immune system can put your dental implants at-risk. For example, uncontrolled diabetes has a strong connection to gum disease, and peri-implantitis is similar to gum disease in many ways. Working closely with your general physician to manage your diabetes can greatly increase the chances that your dental implants will continue to thrive for a lifetime.
Stop Using Tobacco
Cigarettes and chewing tobacco can affect your dental implants in a number of ways. For example, they can contribute to dry mouth. A dry mouth does not have enough saliva to rinse away harmful bacteria. Tobacco products can also hinder your body’s ability to fight infections in general. If you have been struggling with a tobacco habit for a long time, do not give up! Your primary care practitioner may be able to help you design a plan that will allow you to kick the habit once and for all.
Know Your Mouth
Oftentimes, an infection called peri-implant mucositis precedes peri-implantitis. Peri-implant mucositis is not as harmful as what follows, and it is often possible to stop it before it causes permanent damage. Therefore, you should always be aware of even subtle changes in your mouth that might indicate a problem. Red, swollen gums that bleed easily are one of the primary signs of peri-implant mucositis. If you notice such an issue, contact your dentist right away.
Your dental implants have the potential to last a lifetime, but only if you take some precautions to prevent them from becoming infected. Use the above tips to protect your restored smile!
About the Author
Dr. James Kalina is a general dentist and restorative dentist who has helped many patients enjoy the benefits of implant-supported prosthetic teeth. If you would like to learn more about dental implants, or the implants you already have are due for a checkup, you can contact Dr. Kalina’s team at 507-625-2021.