Cleaning and Maintaining Dental Implants

Toothbrush and Floss for Dental Implant Care

When patients are informed they may be in need of dental implants, they may think their implants will act exactly like regular teeth. While they give the appearance of your natural teeth and function in much the same way, dental implants aren’t exact replicas and may require minor changes to your oral health routine to keep them strong for as long as possible.

How Are Dental Implants Different?

Many believe teeth are bones in their own right. While they aren’t actually bones, they are a part of your complex skeletal system and are made up of mineralized natural substances such as calcium phosphate and connective tissue, commonly found in the body’s bones.

For better or worse, dental implants cannot exactly mimic the chemical makeup of your natural teeth. Instead, dental implants are usually made of titanium or zirconium for maximum durability. While these materials mesh wonderfully with the surrounding bone of your jaw, they may require a slightly different oral routine to prevent infection or scratching of the implant crown.

Cleaning Routine

Your cleaning routine for dental implants will have all the same steps as the routine you use with your natural teeth, though you may need to change how you brush, floss and use mouthwash. Because your implants are made differently, they are more susceptible to scratches when cleaned with an abrasive toothbrush or toothpaste. Invest in a soft bristled toothbrush and begin using non-abrasive toothpaste to prevent scratching the surface of your crown. Even though the crown isn’t made of the same material as neighboring teeth it can still collect bacteria in scratches and other imperfections, causing bad breath and potentially leading to infections of other tooth roots or gums.

The successful integration of your implants relies as much on gum health as it does on gentle cleaning of the implant itself. Gently floss your teeth and implants regularly to prevent your gums from developing periodontal disease, which may cause gum recession, bone loss and dislodgement of the implant.

Checkups

Your implants may not be able to develop cavities like your natural teeth, but they still need an expert’s touch every now and then to determine how well they’ve integrated into your jaw, and to provide thorough cleaning for both teeth and implants. Your hygienist will select implant-friendly dental cleaning tools to ensure your implants are free of plaque, debris and bacteria. Many of these gentler cleaning tools utilize vibration to break apart deposits, depending upon how stubborn or large they are. Excessively abrasive scrubbing of especially tough deposits can still cause damage to the implant.

For this reason, attentive at-home oral hygiene is a must to maintain beautifully smooth implants for longer.

Enjoy a Healthy Smile with Greater Louisville Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates

Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. Make a great first impression by properly cleaning and maintaining your natural teeth and dental implants via your at-home oral hygiene routine and regular dental checkups.

If you’re a Louisville resident hoping to transform your smile for the better, the dental professionals at Greater Louisville Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates can assist you in creating the winning smile you’ve always wanted. Contact us online or call 502-459-8012 to schedule your consultation today!

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

Closeup of x-ray image growing wisdom teeth in pain

From the teenage years to the early twenties, our teeth undergo major changes in orientation and structure thanks to the growth of our wisdom teeth. Though some may not need to have their wisdom teeth removed or may not have any at all, the majority of teenagers and young adults suffer through the sometimes painful eruption of these seemingly useless teeth.

If they serve no purpose, as many believe, why do we have them in the first place?

Why Are They Called Wisdom Teeth?

The last time your teeth did anything of note was probably when you tucked a baby tooth under your pillow for the tooth fairy. Now, all of a sudden, your teeth have decided to have a late growth spurt. Your wisdom teeth are essentially the last leg of your oral development. While it may seem more reasonable for your wisdom teeth to erupt while you’re still young, just to get it out of the way, they actually haven’t even begun developing until after age 10. When they’re finally ready to erupt, the positioning of your other teeth is typically set in stone, making it difficult for your wisdom teeth to fit. Because these late-blooming teeth erupt when you’re older and supposedly worldlier, they’ve been dubbed “wisdom teeth.”

What Purpose Does Wisdom Teeth Serve?

Oral surgeons and patients can typically agree that wisdom teeth are usually nothing but trouble. Though some individuals may have plenty of room to accommodate the growth of wisdom teeth or may not develop them at all, those who do have them know they often are accompanied by soreness, infection or impaction, potentially resulting in major oral health issues in the future. For those who have wisdom teeth, extraction may be the most logical next step to safeguard and maintain good oral health. But, if wisdom teeth will just be removed, why do we have them in the first place?

Many researchers have concluded wisdom teeth are a product of evolution. Anthropologists and biologists believe the wisdom teeth were used by our ancestors to grind coarse, rough food such as leaves, nuts and gamey meat. Because humans have grown accustomed to softer foods and the use of tableware, the human jaw has shrunk over time, rendering wisdom teeth nearly useless and officially classifying them as vestigial organs.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons in Louisville, KY

The discomfort caused by the eruption of your wisdom teeth doesn’t have to be permanent. An extraction can put an end to the pain and tightness in your jaw so you can get back to your daily life without the distraction. Louisville residents can trust their smiles to the expert surgeons at Greater Louisville Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates. Contact us online or call 502-459-8012 to schedule an appointment today!