If you have lost a tooth, your dentist may suggest a dental implant to replace it. A dental implant is a dental application that includes a rod or screw that is surgically positioned in your jawbone at the site of the lost tooth.
Once the implant has been placed, it connects to the bone of your jaw over the next few months. This fusion process, which is termed osseointegration, helps ensure that the dental implant is secure and will not move about.
When osseointegration is complete, an abutment or connector can be added to the dental implant, and subsequently, a dental crown can be placed. The resulting dental restoration is functional and looks quite natural. However, a dental implant may fail if it certain precautions are not taken. Here are a few things that you can do to help ensure that your dental implant is successful and does not require replacement:
Keep your gums healthy
A dental implant is more likely to fail if a patient suffers from a severe case of gum disease. Gum disease usually begins as inflammation that causes the gums to appear red and swollen. You may also notice that the gums bleed a bit when you brush your teeth.
If gum disease is not reversed in the early stages, it can progress to periodontitis, which can eventually affect the bones of the jaw. Periodontitis can cause the jawbone to deteriorate. Subsequently, teeth and dental implants may become loose within the bone. This can lead to implant failure.
Wear a mouthguard if you grind your teeth at night
If you grind your teeth at night, it is important to wear a mouthguard when you sleep, or the grinding could loosen the implant within the bone. Teeth grinding, which is also called bruxism, occurs without you being aware of it during the night. Your dentist may diagnose you with this condition if he or she notices that your teeth have worn away. In addition, your spouse or partner may notice the grinding as you rest.
Mouthguards are usually made of a soft plastic material that is designed to fit the contours of your mouth. As a result, these devices are generally comfortable to wear. You can obtain a mouthguard from a local store, or your dentist can supply one.
Mouth guards that are obtained from a dental professional tend to fit the mouth even more comfortably.
If you find that you also grind your teeth during the day, substitute for grinding with a healthier option, such as chewing sugarless gum.
To learn more ways to protect your dental implant, schedule a consultation with a dentist at a clinic like Riverdale Dental Arts.