3 Tips For Preventing Peri-Implant Disease
Dental implants are by far the superior choice when it comes to tooth replacement options. They look and feel just like your real teeth, and once they've settled into your jaw, you won't notice a difference between the way that your implants function and the way that your natural teeth function. However, you do have to take steps to guard against peri-implant disease. Peri-implant disease is similar to gum disease – it begins with sensitive or bleeding gums, and can progress to the point that it damages the bone in your jaw. In some cases, your implants may even need to be removed. Take a look at a few things you can do to avoid peri-implant disease.
Your dentist most likely advised you to quit smoking before you got your dental implants. Just because you have them in place now doesn't mean that it's OK to pick the habit back up. And if you never stopped smoking in the first place, it's more urgent than ever that you do so now.
Smoking cigarettes lowers your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infection. That's bad news at the best of times, and it's even worse news after implant surgery. Your lowered immune system won't just open the door for colds or the flu – it may be unable to fight off bacteria that will attack your newly implanted teeth and the surrounding gums. You want to boost your immune system post-surgery, not lower it.
Finish Your Antibiotics
Your dentist should prescribe antibiotics both before and after your implant surgery. If you're not feeling sick or in pain, though, it can be easy to forget to take your medicine, or to convince yourself that you really don't need it in the first place. This is a bad move.
Antibiotics work by killing off the bacteria that can cause disease. You're prescribed a certain amount of antibiotics for a reason – it has to be enough to finish the job, not just kill off enough bacteria so that you feel OK. When you stop taking antibiotics before finishing them, some bacteria remain – and having been exposed to the antibiotic already, they develop a tolerance for it, making them even stronger than they were to begin with, and possibly immune to the antibiotics. When they begin to multiply, they can cause a new active infection that you'll find much more difficult to get rid of.
Keep Up Your Dental Hygiene
It may seem counterintuitive to think that your new false teeth need just as much care as your real teeth did. Since they're not made of living cells, you may not think that implants are prone to disease or decay. However, it's important to remember that your implants bond with your jawbone and are embedded in your gums – both of which are still made of living cells.
Frequent brushing, flossing, fluoride treatments, and regular dental checkups are all essential for maintaining the health of your gums and your jaw, even if you've had all of your natural teeth removed and replaced with implants. Now is not the time to slack on your oral hygiene – if anything, you should take better care of your mouth than ever before.
If you're feeling pain in the area where your new implants were embedded, or if you're experiencing bleeding or heightened sensitivity, make an appointment to see a center like Prospect Periodontal & Implant Center right away. If it's caught early, peri-implant disease doesn't have to end in losing your implants.