Why Dental Implant Patients Need Excellent Oral Hygiene
To prevent bacterial infections, all patients always need to maintain excellent oral hygiene.
If you’ve been looking into the possibility of getting dental implants, you may already know that in order to enjoy a successful implant procedure, you must work hard to keep your teeth and gums healthy before and during treatment. But did you know that you are going to need to work just as hard on your oral hygiene AFTER your implants are placed?
Individuals who do not maintain excellent oral hygiene are at risk for a serious condition called peri-implantitis.
Peri-implantitis is an inflammatory disease similar to periodontitis, aka gum disease. The difference is that with peri-implantitis, the bacterial infection attacks the jaw bone surrounding the implant. In some cases the disease can necessitate the removal and replacement of the implants.
Who Is at Risk for Peri-Implantitis?
Some studies have suggested that as many as one third of the half-million adults who currently have dental implants could develop peri-implantitis. However, this estimate is based on older dental implant maintenance practices—ten years ago, the disease was virtually unknown so patients were not warned of their risk or educated on how to prevent it. We may expect this figure to drop as patients are more careful about prevention.
The main risk factors for peri-implantitis include:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Prior history of repeated or severe gum disease infections
The best was to prevent peri-implantitis is simply to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy by maintaining scrupulous oral hygiene practices at home. Also, you will want to continue with your annual dental cleanings and exams. This will make it easier for your dentist to identify any warning signs of peri-implantitis that may develop and recommend the necessary treatment.
Know Your Warning Signs
Much as periodontitis is preceded by mild and highly treatable gingivitis, peri-implantitis is always preceded by peri-implant mucositis. This disease is very common and very treatable. The warning signs of peri-implant mucositis are similar to gingivitis and include red, swollen gums around the implant site that may bleed when touched.
It is extremely important to watch out for peri-implant mucositis and seek prompt treatment from your dentist right away. This is the last warning sign you will receive because bone loss (should it begin to occur later) will be painless.
So Should You Still Get Dental Implants?
Absolutely! Dental implants still deliver many amazing benefits for your health and well-being. They are perfectly safe so long as you follow your dentist’s recommendations carefully and maintain excellent oral hygiene before, during, and after the implant placement process.