Did you recently have dental implants installed to replace your missing teeth? If so, you may believe that the implants are impervious to any sort of problems that you normally have to be concerned about with real teeth. This isn't true, since dental implants still require care to ensure that they are stable and strong in your mouth. You'll want to make sure they are properly cared for in order to avoid getting gum disease. Here is what you need to know about caring for a dental implant.
Why Care For The Implant?
When you have a dental implant placed in your mouth, it depends a on the root of the implant for strength. That root needs to bond with your jawbone, which is a process known as osseointegration. Osseointegration occurs when your jaw starts to heal itself by filling in those holes that were placed in your jaw bone to install the dental implant, which is how the jaw bone and the implant become one. Unfortunately, there can be issues when the bone that surrounds the dental implant starts to wear away, which is similar to what happens with real teeth. This typically happens when bacteria get under your gums in the area where the dental implant is installed, causing bacteria to deteriorate the jawbone.
If you have infected gums, that bacteria likes to move under your gum tissue. An infection will cause your gums to eventually swell up, which causes them to pull away and leave a space between the gums and the dental crown. It's the opening that easily allows bacteria in.
How Can Gum Disease Be Prevented?
It's easy to clean around your dental implant and prevent the chance of gum disease occurring. First, it's important to understand the construction of a dental implant. The crown of the dental implant sits on the abutment, which screws directly into the dental implant root. Underneath the abutment is a tiny lip, which is where bacteria typically gathers. The lip is designed to be protected by the surrounding gum tissue, since it is below the gum line.
You can clean the abutment lip by using an electric water flosser. It has enough force to get water into that space, which flushes out any bacteria or food that could be in there. All you need to do is stream water into the area by holding the device about a half-inch away from it, which should be enough to clean the area out.
For more info about taking care of your dental implant, abutment, and crown, speak to a dentist at a dental office such as Airport Road Dental Associates.