So you’ve lost a tooth or two, had implants placed and have some beautiful crowns replacing your missing teeth. You are figuring that you don’t have to clean those bionic teeth very well. Right? They are just titanium root forms with an abuttment and a crown to top it off. What’s to clean?
Sorry to burst your bubble, but even implants can get infections around them – gum disease and bone loss. These infections are caused by the same bacteria involved in gum and bone infections of natural teeth. The theory is that your natural teeth with periodontal disease act as a hiding place for the bugs that infect the implants.
So if you are going to make the investment in implants make meticulous homecare a “to do” every day. Ask you hygienist for some tips.
Last month, we reviewed gingivitis and periodontitis. Bacteria that congregate around your teeth and under your gums cause these diseases.
There are a few major actors in this melodrama of the mouth and they live in colonies call a dental biofilm – a slimy, slippery mass. Biofilm under your gums is not very affected by mouth rinses or antibiotics. The stickiness of this slime matrix requires physical disruption to get rid of these bad boys.
Often, this requires your hygienist to get under the tissue and clean for you and when your tissue is healed, floss and other mechanical devices can break up the slimy matrix of the biofilm in order to stay disease free.
Everyone has heard of gingivitis if they watch commercials on TV. Gingivitis is an infection of the gum tissue and it’s cousin periodontitis involves the gums and bone supporting your teeth.
Both of these infections involve your own body’s reaction to a bacterial infection. You respond to a build-up of bacteria with an inflammatory response that is similar to the way your body responds to any injury or tissue damage.
Some of this damage is reversible if it has not been going on for a long time. Some is permanent damage if this has been chronic condition.
Reversible or not, with your dentist’s help, both of these diseases are treatable. Damage can be stopped in most cases by reducing the bacteria in your mouth and therefore your own inflammatory response.