Want To Protect Your Dental Implant? Here Are A Few Things To Avoid

Dental implants are usually problem-free. In fact, implant restorations are successful more than 95% of the time. Thus, you can receive a dental implant with confidence. Still, certain actions may increase the likelihood that an implant will incur problems. Here are a few things that a dental implant patient should avoid.

Failing To Brush And Floss RegularlyA dental implant is not made of the same material as a real tooth and cannot decay. However, the tissues that help hold the implant in place can be affected by the same bacterial acids that cause tooth decay.

The bacteria in the mouth release acid as a byproduct of their metabolic processes. The microbes digest sugars that are found within the mouth and excrete acid after their digestion is complete. This acid can cause gum inflammation that leads to periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease can damage the gums and soft tissues that support the dental implant. As the disease progresses, the gums may even become infected. This infection can spread to the jawbone, negatively affecting the connection between the bone and the implanted device.

Osseointegration is the process by which the dental implant connects to the jawbone. After the placement of the implant, bone cells grow around the titanium device to hold it firmly in place. This integration stabilizes the implant and allows it to function as an artificial tooth root.

If osseointegration is interrupted or the connection between a dental implant and the bone is broken, the implant fails. A new connection does not form between the implant and the bone once it has been breached.

Brushing and flossing regularly helps to decrease the amount of bacteria and oral acid in the mouth. By keeping the mouth clean, you can help the gum tissue to stay healthier and lessen your risk of implant failure.

Failing To Protect The Teeth From TraumaA natural tooth may be chipped or cracked from chewing on hard items, such as finger nails or ice. Just as large amounts of force to the mouth can harm the teeth, dental trauma can also damage a dental implant. Thus, to protect a dental implant, it is important to avoid biting on substances that are inedible or unusually hard.

Additionally, implant patients who regularly participate in contact sports should use a sports guard to protect the mouth from inadvertent blows. Blunt force trauma can loosen or dislodge an implant.

The implant should also be protected from the force of dental grinding, which is called bruxism. People often grind their teeth at night while they sleep. Consequently, bruxism often occurs without the knowledge of the sufferer. The disorder may be exacerbated by stress and caffeine.

A person who suffers from bruxism may initially learn of the disorder during a visit to a dentist. Flattened chewing surfaces develop as the upper and lower teeth grind together. Thus, the dental professional can easily identify signs of dental grinding by visually inspecting the teeth.

To forgo the damage that bruxism may cause to a dental implant, people who suffer from the disorder should wear a night guard. The guard can help absorb the damaging pressure of the grinding. If a night guard is used, it is important to choose a custom guard and wear it regularly.

A custom guard is typically much more comfortable than a guard that is purchased at a local drugstore. Stores typically offer one-size-fits-all and boil-and-bite guards. A custom night guard is created from an impression of the mouth and is designed to fit the specific contours of the oral cavity.

For more information about reducing the risk of implant failure, contact our office to schedule an appointment.