Three Tips For Preventing Dental Implant Failure

Dental implants are a strong, permanent, and natural-looking prosthetic for replacing missing teeth. However, it is not impossible for dental implants to fail over time. Here are three tips that can help you minimize the risk of dental implant failure.

Maintain Good Dental Hygiene

Caring for your dental implants is just as important as caring for your natural teeth. When plaque is allowed to build up around the base of the implant crown, it can inflame the gums and cause a condition known as peri-implantitis. This inflammation can cause the gums around the implant to gradually recede, eventually leaving enough space for the implant to loosen and require reimplantation or removal.

The best way to avoid peri-implantitis is to maintain good dental hygiene. Dental implants rarely require any specialized cleaning methods compared to natural teeth. Simply brush twice a day and floss once per day to keep plaque from building up on the implant crown.

Protect Your Implants From Extreme Force

While dental implants are the strongest replacement for natural teeth, it is still possible for them to become damaged through prolonged application of force or a sudden impact. Sports injuries and other types of direct trauma can crack the implant crown or dislocate the implant. If you grind your teeth at night, you may be wearing down the crown and gradually loosening the implant.

It is a good idea to wear a mouthguard during contact sports and visit your dentist right away if you suffer dental trauma near the site of your implant to determine if it has been cracked or loosened. Take heed of symptoms of teeth grinding while you sleep, such as headaches or jaw soreness in the morning. Your dentist may provide a nighttime mouthguard to prevent you from damaging the implant while you sleep.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your overall dental health, especially if you have dental implants. Both your implants and your natural teeth rely on saliva to rinse away bacteria and food particles. Smoking inhibits the salivary glands, making your teeth and implants more susceptible to plaque and bacteria buildup even if you brush and floss regularly.

In addition to making it easier for bacterial infections in your mouth to occur, smoking reduces your body's ability to fight infection. Tobacco smoke causes blood vessels in the mouth to contract, restricting blood flow to oral tissues. The decreased oxygen supply to your cells caused by restricted blood flow inhibits your body's immune response to infection and accelerates the rate at which your gum tissues recede as you age, making it more likely that your implants will loosen over time.

Use these tips to protect your dental implant from common causes of failure so that you can maintain a healthy, gap-free smile for a lifetime. For more information, contact local professionals like Oral Surgery Associates Inc.