Modern technology has given dentists the ability to replace a missing tooth with an implant-borne dental restoration. The lost tooth has been replaced to look like the original tooth. Now what does the patient need in professional maintenance and at-home care to make this replacement tooth last the rest of their lifetime?
Q: What is a dental implant?
A: An implant is a titanium metal post, surgically placed into your jawbone. The implant replaces the root of the missing tooth. A prosthetic crown (cap) is anchored to the implant by the third component a metal abutment. The implant crown replaces the lost tooth and looks and functions as the replacement tooth.
Q: What care is needed for my implant crown?
A: Two maintenance programs are needed dental professional and at-home:
In-office dental care is a life- long examination and hygiene intervention regimen. Dental visits every 3-6 months are necessary to check and clean the implant and it’s prosthetic components. Examination to look for any looseness, check the bite, probe for attachment loss and x-rays are taken regularly to check and maintain proper function. These regular dental examinations and professional cleanings will treat your whole mouth, remove plaque and calculus (mineralized plaque), administer anti-microbial treatments and allow for tooth decay to be treated early with fillings and treat early gum disease.
Daily home care will be individualized for each patient. Suggested aids include brushing with a low abrasive toothpaste, flossing, interdental brushes, soft picks, water irrigation units and/or antimicrobial rinses one or more times per day.
Q: What can happen if I don’t take care of my dental implant?
A: Infection is the enemy. Lack of care can lead to bleeding, mucosititis, peri-implant disease, bone loss, and then the need to remove the failing implant. LAPIP is a laser surgical procedure available to treat peri-implantitis and regenerate lost attachment when disease occurs.
The success rate of dental implants is over 95%. Overtime these successful implants fail to infection in a way similar to natural teeth if not properly taken care of. Take care of your teeth and gums at home every day and work together with your dental team.