Many dentists and patients alike love dental implants, and rightly so. They are the best tooth replacement option that modern medicine has to offer. However, they are not totally risk-free. In rare cases, an infection invades the tissue around an implant and cause it to fail. What can you do to protect yourself from such an unfortunate outcome? Here are some keys to preventing dental implant infections.
Care for Your Overall Health
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is imperative that you do all you can to manage your condition. Uncontrolled diabetes can compromise the immune system, thus increasing the risk that bacteria will be able to wreak havoc on the tissue around your dental implants. Diabetes can also lead to a dry mouth, which means there is less saliva to rinse away potentially harmful substances.
Diabetes is not the only chronic condition that could endanger dental implants. Any disease that affects the immune system could put your new smile at risk. Work with your general care practitioner to manage your overall health so your dental implants can continue to thrive.
A Spanish study followed 66 dental implant patients for five years. During that time, the nonsmokers had a dental implant failure rate of only 1.4 percent. Among the smokers, the implant failure rate was a staggering 15.8 percent. Tobacco use hinders the body’s ability to heal after surgery and fight infection. It can lead to gum disease, dry mouth, and a number of serious oral health conditions. If you are struggling to kick the habit, your general physician may be able to help you create a customized “quit plan.”
Don’t Neglect Oral Hygiene
Proper oral hygiene fights plaque and infection-causing bacteria. You should:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Be sure to clean the area around the gum line and the backs of your teeth.
- Floss daily. If you have an implant-supported bridge, don’t forget to floss beneath your restoration.
- Sip lots of water. Water rinses away harmful substances and promotes saliva production.
- Follow your dentist’s personalized oral hygiene recommendations. For example, they might suggest that you use an antibacterial mouth rinse or invest in an electric toothbrush.
Don’t Be a Stranger at Your Dentist’s Office
Regular professional cleanings and checkups rid your mouth of harmful plaque and give your dentist an opportunity to provide you with personalized tips for maintaining your dental implants. If your dentist notices any early signs of infection, they may be able to stop the problem before it endangers your implants’ long-term viability.
You don’t have to live in constant fear that your dental implants will fail. By taking a few simple precautions like the ones listed above, you may be able to set yourself up for a lifetime of healthy, happy, and complete smiles.
We have four accomplished dentists on our team at Pelican Landing Dental. We aim to offer comprehensive care in a welcoming environment. If you would like to talk to us about restoring your smile with dental implants, or about protecting the dental implants you already have, contact our office today at 239-948-2111.