Dental Implant Care
Dental implants are a revolutionary treatment for replacing missing teeth, and one that we proudly offer at Neil Starr, DDS, PC. They are a unique treatment that requires a surgical procedure for placement and provides numerous benefits over traditional bridges and dentures. Dental Implants consist of small titanium posts that are inserted directly into the jawbone. The posts then integrate into your jaw as you heal, becoming stable roots that then provide support for your replacement teeth. Implants are more comfortable than traditional treatments, they look and feel just like your natural teeth, and they are designed to be permanent. They also do not require the same care that traditional dentures do. However, to remain strong and functional, your implants do still require care.
Why Is Implant Care So Important?Your implants, specifically the crowns that replace the visible portion of your missing teeth, are fake, so why do they need to be cared for? After all, the crowns are made of ceramic, and cannot develop tooth decay or cavities. While this may be true, it is still crucial that you continue to brush and floss regularly, and have regular dental cleanings and exams, even if all of your teeth have been replaced. Even though ceramic cannot develop cavities, it is still capable of collecting plaque and bacteria. Both of these can greatly increase your risk of developing gum disease. If gum disease occurs and is not treated, the gums can begin to pull away from the crowns, forming pockets. Bacteria and other debris can get trapped in these pockets, and you can start to experience gum recession. Also, your jawbone can begin to weaken, which can then compromise the stability of your implants. The posts can become loose, and they may even fail.
Daily Implant Care at HomeKeeping your dental implants strong and healthy starts at home with good oral hygiene practices. Your implants can, and should, be brushed and flossed just like the rest of your natural teeth. You should continue to brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time. When you brush, you should make sure that you go over all surfaces of your natural teeth and your dental implants, including the fronts, backs, and the chewing surfaces. Use gentle, circular motions to avoid irritating the gum tissue. Flossing should be done at least once a day. Using regular floss, or a floss pick, gently move the floss back and forth to get the string between your teeth. Scrape up and down the sides of each tooth and implant, including behind the teeth at the very back of your mouth. When you are finished, you can rinse your mouth with mouthwash.
Regular Professional Cleanings and ExamsHome care is only one part of keeping your mouth, and your dental implants, healthy. It is also still important to have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined at least twice a year, even if all of your teeth have been replaced by implants. Cleanings enable us to remove buildup, including plaque, tartar, bacteria, and other debris, from the surfaces of your teeth. During your exams, we check your natural teeth for signs of damage and decay, and your gums for signs of gum disease. We also inspect your ceramic crowns for signs of chips, cracks or other damage. In the event that your replacement teeth do require maintenance, they can be removed, fixed, and then replaced. With dental exams, we can spot any issues in their earliest stages, preventing anything serious from affecting the health of your mouth.
While dental implants do not require the same care that dentures do, they still require proper care. Taking good care of your implants will ensure their strength and functionality for a long time to come. If you have any questions or concerns about the care of your Dental Implants, call Neil Starr, DDS, PC today at (202) 293-7177.