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Habits That Interfere With Your Dental Implant's Healing

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A dental implant takes some time to heal. Various factors affect the healing period and may hasten or slow it down. Some of these factors are outside your control, while others you can control. For example, your dental implant may not heal fast if you have the following habits.

Bruxism

Bruxism is a chronic dental condition where you grind and clench your teeth regularly. Bruxism episodes can attack both while you sleep and while you are awake. Both forms of bruxism can affect how fast your dental implant heals.
When you clench or grind your teeth, you force your teeth to bear more force than they should. Excessive forces on your teeth particularly affect the implant-bone junction, where the two materials should fuse. As a result, osseointegration (bone-implant fusion) may be delayed. The more severe your bruxism is, the more the condition is likely to affect your implant.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene may also affect your dental implant, particularly in the early days after treatment. The effect comes if you fail to brush and floss your teeth regularly and effectively. In such a case, bacteria may colonize the tissues around the implant and trigger a localized inflammatory response.
The localized inflammation, which dentists refer to as peri-implantitis, may degrade the gum and bone tissues around the implant and delay osseointegration. Of course, you may also have to contend with other oral and dental diseases, such as gum disease, if you don't keep your mouth clean.

Smoking

Apart from bruxism and poor oral hygiene, you should also fear for your dental implants if you are a smoker. Note that smoking is a dangerous habit even for those who don't have dental implants; the habit increases your risk of oral cancer, for instance.
As for dental implants, smoking is bad because:
  • The chemicals in tobacco, such as nicotine and hydrogen cyanide, damage the cells that should heal your wound.
  • The chemicals and smoke in tobacco constrict blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the injury site.
  • Tobacco accelerates bone loss, and you need sufficient bone density for your implant to heal properly.
A combination of the above issues means that your implant may not heal effectively or fast enough if you smoke.

Unfaithfulness With Dental Checkups

You may also impair your dental implant healing if you don't keep your dental appointments. Everyone should get regular dental checkups to help diagnose dental problems in their infancy, clean the teeth thoroughly, and prevent dental problems.
You need regular checkups even more if you have an implant. Your dentist needs to monitor your implant and intervene the minute they notice an anomaly. For example, your dentist may stop peri-implantitis if they detect the problem early enough. Without early detection, problems such as peri-implantitis may hinder your healing.

Use of Teeth as a Tool

Lastly, your dental implant may also heal at a slow rate if you regularly use your teeth as a tool. Some people, for instance, use their teeth to open beer bottles, strip electrical cables, or even cut their nails.
Unfortunately, your teeth may not be able to handle such excessive bite forces. In the end, the effect may be the same as that of bruxism — the fusion of the bone and implant may be delayed. Ideally, your teeth should only stomp down on food and nothing else.
As you can see, your habits have a role to play in your dental implant treatment. Fortunately, with the help of a dentist, you can manage these habits and their effects and benefit from dental implant treatment. Contact Richard W. Leong Jr., DDS, PA, for all your dental implant needs.