Dental implants look, fit, feel and function just like natural teeth. So does that mean implants are also vulnerable to decay and cavities?
In short, no — implants can’t develop cavities. However, that doesn’t mean dental implant patients have a free pass when it comes to caring for their restorations.
Why Don’t Dental Implants Get Cavities?
Dental implants are similar to healthy, natural teeth in look, feel and function. But when it comes to their composition, they’re different.
A dental implant has three parts — a post, an abutment and a crown. The post and abutment are made of titanium, a durable, strong, biocompatible metal. The crown is typically made of a ceramic or porcelain compound, both of which are artificial, not biological, materials.
As such, the oral bacteria that cause cavities will not damage a dental implant.
Why Is Oral Hygiene a Must for Dental Implant Patients?
So if implants can’t get cavities, why do oral surgeons stress the importance of oral hygiene after tooth replacement?
Simply put, implant stability can be compromised by the effects of cavity-causing bacteria.
The gums and remaining natural teeth remain susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay. These conditions can weaken the bond between a replacement tooth and the jawbone, which can lead to implant failure.
For implants to last a lifetime, patients must remain diligent about caring for both natural and replacement teeth. Any inflammation, decay or disease in the mouth can have a negative effect on real teeth and restorations.
How Do You Take Care of Dental Implants?
The recommended oral hygiene habits for dental implant patients are much like those for patients who don’t have replacement teeth. Basic daily brushing and flossing are key, as are regular professional exams and cleanings.
However, cleaning implants may require an interdental brush — a special toothbrush with tiny bristles that can easily fit between the natural teeth and replacement teeth. And implant patients need more frequent checkups with an oral surgeon to ensure the ongoing health and integrity of their restorations.
Do you have other questions about dental implants, or do you need information on tooth replacement options? The experienced, board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah can offer expert advice on tooth restoration and dental implant surgery.
With three Salt Lake City area offices — in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele — scheduling a consultation with an oral surgeon couldn’t be more convenient. If you live in northern Utah, contact us to learn more about dental implants today.