Caring for new dental implants

Can Dental Implants Develop Cavities?

Dental implants are as close to natural teeth as you can get. After implant surgery, no one will ever be able to tell that you once had gaps in your grin.

Since dental implants mimic natural teeth so well, you may wonder if are they just as prone to developing cavities.

They’re not. In fact, implanted teeth can’t get cavities at all! However, you still need to care for your smile, or you run the risk of implant failure.

Caring for new dental implants

Cavities Are Not a Threat to Dental Implants

Implanted teeth are near-perfect matches to natural teeth, but they have a different composition.

Real teeth contain calcium, phosphorous and other minerals. Implants, on the other hand, contain only artificial, biocompatible materials. The implant post, which acts as a tooth root, and the abutment, or connector piece, are made of titanium. The crown, or the visible tooth portion of the implant, is usually a ceramic or porcelain compound.

Because implanted teeth aren’t comprised of biologic materials, they simply cannot develop cavities.

Cavity-Causing Bacteria Can Affect Dental Implants

Cavities don’t occur in implanted teeth, but the oral bacterial that cause cavities can be problematic.

Without proper care, a bacterial infection could take hold in the tissues surrounding an implant. The condition, known as peri-implant mucositis, can be successfully treated if caught early enough. Left untreated, the bacteria can spread and cause jawbone deterioration. At this point, the condition is called peri-implantitis — and it can lead to implant failure.

Peri-implantitis compromises the stability of an implant, causing it to loosen. Surgical treatment can reverse the problem, but in some cases, the only treatment option is to remove the implanted teeth, restore sufficient jawbone density and repeat the implant surgery process.

Proper Care for New Dental Implants

To prevent peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis — and ensure long-term implant stability — patients need to be diligent in caring for their smiles.

Fortunately, taking proper care of implants is easy. Just keep good oral hygiene habits, as you already (hopefully) do. Brush and floss twice per day, don’t use your teeth as tools and schedule routine oral examinations with your dentist and oral surgeon.

However, to clean your implanted teeth properly, you may need to switch to an interdental brush. This type of toothbrush has tiny bristles that reach all the in-between areas and provide a more thorough cleaning.

Do you have any other questions about dental implants? Or are you interested in getting implanted teeth? Dr. Partridge and Dr. Alderman, the board-certified oral surgeons at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, can offer expert answers and advice on tooth restoration and implant surgery.

At Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, serving the greater east central Indiana area, you get a beautiful, natural-looking smile that lasts a lifetime. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss dental implants.