Maintaining Healthy Implants

Maintaining Healthy Dental HabitsDental implants have taken over as the preferred method of tooth replacement. This is interesting when you realize that the tiny titanium posts are intended as artificial roots. It is in the small details of implant treatment where the most power originates. Replacing the roots that have been lost means reinstating the most natural structure, and that means restoring the most authentic chewing and biting sensation. Essentially, the ultimate advantage of tooth replacement with implants is that function is restored to the highest possible extent. This goes far beyond just reviving the appearance of the smile.

Most patients who seek information about dental implants do so to achieve this advantage, and also to maintain it for life. What is important to know is that, while implant success is typically high – 99% – there are factors that can threaten the lifespan of this restoration.  We want to set our patients up for long-term success and do so by discussing the value of hygiene.

Back to Basics

From the first years of life, we are taught that we need to brush and floss our teeth. These structures are living, breathing, parts of the body and require a good cleaning to prevent damage from oral bacteria. But dental implants are titanium posts; crowns and bridges and dentures are made of porcelain or ceramic. These are inorganic materials. They are not living and breathing, and therefore do not require the same care as natural teeth and their roots, right? Wrong.

The titanium post is stabilized through integration with bone tissue. Bone is alive. The layer of tissue next to the bone is also alive, and the next . . . You get the idea. We don’t just want the bone and periodontal ligament and gum tissue to be living; we want it to be alive and well. That means maintenance focuses on gum health.

Taking it from the Top

Gingivitis and gum disease are inflammatory conditions for which we are all at risk. Inflammation occurs when the mouth becomes overly acidic. Oral bacteria deposit acidic byproduct at the gum line. The foods and beverages that we consume may also be acidic. These conditions are prime for decay, not just of teeth, but of soft tissues.

If the gums recede and degrade under acidic effects, the next in line for damage is the periodontal ligament, then the jaw bone. Yes, bone can be eaten away by gum disease. And, in the process, the implant becomes loose and may even fail.

Brushing and flossing are important to the success of dental implants. It’s that simple! For more information on our general, cosmetic, and restorative dental treatments, call our New Orleans office at 504-486-3339.


Posted in: Dental Implants

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