A Dental Implant is a substitute for a natural tooth root. Implants provide the foundation for a replacement tooth, such as a crown, bridge, or denture. The titanium implant is surgically placed into the jawbone, and then allowed to fuse with the bone over the span of a few months. This makes the replacement tooth as strong as a natural tooth, because it has great stability, and stands on its own without affecting the nearby teeth.
What a lot of patients do not realize, however, is that implants are no different from natural teeth and roots. They must be kept clean and maintained regularly, or they run the risk of peri-implantitis, a bacterial infection around the implant that results in inflammation of the gums. This infection, left unchecked, can even lead to bone loss in the jaw itself.
Dr Aws Alani, consultant in restorative dentistry at King’s College Hospital in the UK, says implants have been a very successful innovation over the last 30 years. But he says patients are often not aware how to maintain them – and that can cause problems.
“There is an attitude that implants are indestructible, but that’s not the reality. The majority of cases are successful as long as patients are told how to care for their new teeth.”*
The risk of developing gum disease increases for those who don’t clean their teeth regularly, smokers, and for patients who already have gum disease. If an infection occurs around an implant inserted in the gum, the bone itself is at risk and can waste away, reducing support for the implant.
If you notice anything unusual around an implant site, schedule a visit with your dentist right away to check it out. Any infection must be addressed before bone loss occurs.
*To read the full article in BBC News, CLICK HERE.