A dental treatment may help to restore your oral health. However, the treatment alone is often not enough to prevent problems from recurring. Some level of maintenance will be required after the actual treatment is complete. Here are some common dental treatments and the maintenance that may be associated with them.
Maintaining Your Dental Implant
Dental implants are used to replace lost teeth. Unlike many other tooth-replacement applications, in addition to replacing the crown of a tooth, a dental implant restoration also replaces the dental root. During the placement procedure, a titanium rod or screw is positioned inside the bone of the jaw. As the implant wound heals, the stability of the device improves.
The implant undergoes a process called osseointegration in which the jawbone and the dental implant fuse. The resulting stability is similar to that of a natural tooth. However, osseointegration takes several months to complete. If the process is disturbed before completion, the dental implant may fail.
Proper maintenance of a dental implant includes the avoidance of substances and issues that can jeopardize the success of the treatment. Dental implants received by smokers and other tobacco users are more likely to fail. A smoker may have reduced blood-oxygen levels. and poor circulation. As a result, the implant wound may not receive the oxygen needed to heal properly. Also, people who have uncontrolled blood sugar levels may have a greater chance of implant failure. To maintain a dental implant restoration, one should avoid tobacco usage and control blood sugar through diet, exercise and other doctor recommendations.
Dental implants should also be protected from trauma that may ensue from bruxism and sports accidents. If you have an implant placed and also suffer from teeth grinding, you should wear a protective mouthguard nightly. Likewise, people who participate in contact sports should protect their implant restoration by wearing a protective guard during play.
Single-tooth implant restorations are topped by dental crowns. Even though an implant crown is quite durable, you should avoid chewing on hard substances, such as ice, which could damage the crown and shift the implant from position.
Gum care around a dental implant is also important. People with advanced periodontal disease have an increased chance of having an implant fail. Thus, once you receive a dental implant, it is important to brush and floss regularly. The use of an oral irrigator can also be helpful for dislodging plaque and debris around the implant restoration. The irrigator offers the added benefit of massaging the gums for more optimal circulation around the implantation site.
Maintaining Your Periodontal Treatment
In order to help gum inflammation heal, a periodontal treatment, such as a deep cleaning, may be required. Deep cleanings include the scaling of the teeth below the surface of the gums and the scraping or smoothing of the dental roots. The dental scaling and root planing are often performed during the same appointments.
Once tartar, plaque and decaying material are removed from the gum pockets and the roots of the teeth, the gums can heal. However, the progress made through a periodontal treatment must be maintained and supported through your oral hygiene efforts.
Gum inflammation often results from the exposure of the gingival tissues to bacterial acid. If the acid and the bacteria that generate it are not regularly removed through proper brushing and flossing, the gums can revert to an inflamed state. Further periodontal treatments may be needed to restore the gums after a setback.
Maintaining Your Bone Graft
When you lose a tooth, the bone that supported the lost tooth may begin to atrophy. The density of your jawbone is maintained by stimulation from the force transferred from a tooth to the bone as your chew. However, once a tooth is lost, the stimulation at the extraction site is eliminated.
Even if your dentist recommends a traditional dental implant to replace your missing tooth, sufficient jawbone must be present to support the device. If you have lost a great amount of bone, a bone graft may be performed to restore it. The grafted material may be donated from another area of your body, a cadaver or even an animal.
To maintain a bone graft throughout the healing process, it is important to keep your mouth as clean as possible. This lessens the chance of an infection that could jeopardize the treatment.