Dental implants are truly a revolution in tooth restoration. If you have one or more implants you’re probably very familiar with how amazing they are! Dental implants are sturdy, last a lifetime, and look so realistic that no one can tell they’re even there! Combine that with how lifelike they function and you’re looking at the ideal solution to tooth loss!
At Really Smile we’re thrilled to be able to offer you premier dental implant treatment. We’re able to offer single tooth restorations all the way up to full mouth replacements. It’s so rewarding to have a patient sit up and really say “wow!” when they realize how amazing the difference is!
Despite how strong dental implants are they aren’t impervious! Your oral health has to be carefully preserved just like your implant was a real tooth or else you could lose it completely! If you’re concerned about the longevity of your dental implants you need to know one of the biggest risk factors: smoking!
What Can Smoking Do To Implants?
To better understand what tobacco smoking can do to dental implants it’s important to know what it can do to your overall oral health. We’re not talking about cancer or other drastic illness but simply the changes in your mouth that are caused by cigarette smoke.
Your mouth contains countless bacteria of all different strains. It exists in the form of plaque, the sticky white film that builds up on your teeth throughout the day. A lot of the bacteria in plaque is harmless but there’s also a lot that isn’t. That bacteria produces acids when it metabolizes the sugar in foods you eat. Those acids are responsible for damage to your teeth in the form of decay and cavities as well as damage to your gums!
Studies of smokers have found an alarming and consistent trend: the harmless bacteria in their mouths dies off and leaves the dangerous stuff to grow and grow! This greatly increases the chance of tooth decay, gum disease, and eventual tooth loss completely!
The Implant Effect
Your dental implants aren’t at risk for damage from plaque bacteria, obviously. What is at risk is your gums and bone! All dental implant wearers are at risk for peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis, but smokers have a significantly higher chance of having these conditions!
Peri-implant mucositis is a lot like gingivitis (the early stage of gum disease). At this point there is usually damage to your gums that takes the form of inflammation, sensitivity, easy bleeding, and recession. This happens because harmful bacteria makes its way under the gumline and starts to spread uncontrollably!
Peri-implant mucositis is treated fairly easily and much of the damage it causes can be reversed with the same treatments we use to treat gum disease. Regular, deep cleanings and thorough exams can stop peri-implant mucositis from progressing into peri-implantitis!
Peri-implantitis is where things start to get serious, just like with full-blown gum disease. The bacteria under your gums starts to spread uncontrollably, infecting your gum tissue and attacking the bone that supports your implants. At this stage it can be hard to reverse the damage, which could leave your dental implants at risk for being lost!
As bacteria attacks the bone it causes it to start receding away from the implant. Your implants rely on the bone and gums surrounding it to hold it in place and keep it secure and without it loss is inevitable! If a dental implant is lost due to bone and gum damage it can be nearly impossible to replace it without serious surgery!
Preventing Peri-Implant Diseases
Just like preventing tooth decay and gum disease, the key to preventing peri-implant diseases is good oral health! Smoking cessation, twice a day brushing, flossing in the evenings, and eating right are all keys to preventing bacterial diseases in your mouth.
One last key is, of course, regular professional care. Even with a mouth full of dental implants you still need to see us regularly! We should see you every six months for regular exams and cleanings. If you show signs of peri-implant diseases we might even need to see you more frequently!
Don’t risk your teeth to damage from excess harmful bacteria. Call our Carmel dentist office today at 317-451-4050! You can also schedule an appointment by filling out our online request form. We look forward to seeing you soon!