Dental implants can last a lifetime, but it depends on many factors, including good oral hygiene and proper diet. To make sure your dental implant stays healthy, it’s important to constantly monitor it. After your dental implant is placed, we’ll keep an eye on it to make sure it’s still healthy–and you can help out, too.
How’s It Look?
The simplest test of healthy dental implants is a visual inspection. You should look over your implants as part of your daily oral hygiene routine, too. You should look to make sure the dental crown isn’t discolored or chipped. Make sure the gums around the implant are the same color as around your other teeth, hopefully a healthy pink. Look out for pus-filled sores on your gums near the implant.
If you notice any problems, let us know. We’ll also perform an even more comprehensive visual inspection to look for these types of problems. Hopefully, between the two of us, we’ll spot any problems as they develop and before they become serious.
To figure out the nature of the problem, we might require other tests.
Dental probing is a normal part of your regular checkup, and, like your natural teeth, your dental implant will be inspected as well. Probing measures the depth of pockets around your teeth–growing pockets indicate worsening gum disease. This is just as important around your dental implant–gum disease is the leading cause of dental implant failure.
You might have noticed that your natural teeth have a small amount of movement. It’s normal for healthy teeth to be able to move a small amount (about a hundredth of an inch).
But any movement in your dental implant is a cause for concern. Your dental implant is supposed to be anchored firmly in your bone, so if it’s moving, there’s definitely a problem. As part of your checkup, we might try rocking your implant a little bit to see if it moves. This is something you shouldn’t try at home because you might damage the implant–we know how much force to apply and how much would soon be too much.
There are two potential sources for motion in an implant. It could be the abutment, which connects the dental crown with the dental implant root. This can loosen or fail. It may also be the dental implant itself, which may be losing its firm anchor in the jawbone.
If we suspect there might be a problem with your dental implants, we’ll want to know what the problem is and what treatment is necessary. This means using some kind of imaging to identify problems around the dental implant. The most common is an x-ray, which can show the state of bone around the implant. Sometimes, though, we may not get an adequate view of your dental implant from a simple x-ray and we may have to order a panorama or even a CT scan. That will tell us exactly what the problem is and how to proceed.
With dental implants, maintenance is as important as the placement itself. To learn more about how we work to ensure the safety of your dental implants in Summerlin, please call (702) 873-0324 for an appointment with a dentist at the office of Dr. James B. Polley.