Do You Even Need To Clean A Dental Implant?

You might have heard that dental implants are actually cavity-proof. This is true, and it's simply not biologically possible for an implant to develop a dental cavity. But does this mean that you don't need to be too concerned when it comes to cleaning your new dental implant?

Three Major Parts

For starters, you'll need to think about the three major parts that come together to make up your dental implant. The actual implant is the section placed in your jaw and is a small titanium alloy screw—chosen for its strength, durability, and hypoallergenic qualities. This is the section that integrates with your bone. The implant is topped with an abutment (usually also made of titanium alloy), which helps it connect with the final piece—your new prosthetic (or fake) tooth. The prosthetic tooth is typically made of ceramic. 

Cavity Development 

Cavities occur in natural teeth when acid created by oral bacteria attacks the tooth's outermost layer, which is its enamel. As the cavity deepens, it creates an opening in the enamel and reaches the underlying part of the tooth (called dentin), and will eventually reach the tooth's living nerve, which is called the pulp. This can lead to an infection of the pulp and can require a root canal (pulp removal), as well as extensive reconstruction of the decayed tooth. None of this is biologically possible with a prosthetic tooth. It can't corrode due to oral bacteria, and there's no nerve at its center—only the implant and its abutment. 

Your Implant's Prosthetic Tooth

Because there's no possibility of decay, is it even important to keep a prosthetic tooth clean? Yes, very much so. Cariogenic bacteria are oral bacteria capable of causing cavities. Even though they can't create a cavity on a prosthetic tooth, they can still live on its ceramic surface. This creates an influx of this potentially harmful bacteria in your mouth and can endanger your remaining natural teeth. Excessive oral bacteria may also put your implant at risk, but not due to decay.

Risk to Your Implant

It's possible for an infection to develop around the implant submerged in your gums. This can lead to inflammation resulting in bleeding, pain, and general discomfort. Without treatment, the infection can become more serious, and the implant may eventually lose its connection with your bone, meaning it will have to be removed.

To preserve both your remaining natural teeth and your implant, you'll still need to keep your implant's prosthetic tooth clean. This doesn't require a specialist approach. You just need to brush the prosthetic tooth, along with your natural teeth. Be sure to report any signs of infection or other concerns to your dentist, but not much effort is required to keep your implant strong and healthy.

For more information about dental implants, contact a local business, like Bremen Family Dentistry, PC.