The longevity of a dental implant is directly related to the amount and quality of surrounding bone. Bone around implants can be eroded as a consequence of inadequate cleaning, excess load on the implant, medical problems (e.g. diabetes), or habits such as smoking. It is therefore important to prevent or minimize these circumstances.
Dental implants should be cleaned daily with a toothbrush and floss as part of your oral hygiene routine. Regular professional hygiene treatments from an appropriately trained and equipped dentist or hygienist are also imperative. Dental implants should not be scaled with standard instruments; rather, special plastic or titanium instruments should be used. Ensure you check with your dentist or hygienist that they have both the expertise and instruments necessary to clean your implants correctly.
Overloading of an implant is also a potential cause of failure. The crown/bridge on your implant/s should be placed by an appropriately trained dentist to ensure that the implant is not overloaded. Your implant crown/bridge should then be checked on a regular basis by an appropriately trained dentist or hygienist to ensure that your bite has not changed and caused excess pressure on the tooth. Sometimes we recommend that a hard plastic ‘occlusal splint’ is worn in your mouth at night to prevent excess forces on your teeth and implant from nighttime tooth clenching and grinding.
Finally, all implants should be x-rayed at least once a year. This way if bone loss occurs it can be detected early, and steps taken to prevent further deterioration and possible loss of the implant.