Can Dental Implants Get Cavities?

Can Dental Implants Get Cavities?

A: No, dental implants cannot get cavities because dental implants are made of titanium. However, the patient still needs to clean around the implants so the gums around them stay healthy.

When you lose a tooth, there’s a lot more to it than just having a gap in your smile. Yes, the aesthetic aspect can be very discouraging but there’s something bigger to worry about—jawbone loss. Your jawbone relies on the roots of your teeth to tell your body to build more bone material as it wears over time.

Without a tooth, the empty socket will not fortify itself over time and lead to the disintegration of your jawbone. However, with dental implants, you can avoid that altogether and of course—dental implants can’t get cavities. Now, that doesn’t mean you can just ignore your oral hygiene regimen—we’ll get to that in a moment.

Why Dental Implants Don’t Get Cavities

Dental implants are the next best thing to your natural teeth. They look, feel, and function like natural teeth except they’ll never decay. This is due to their composition because while they look like natural teeth, the material they’re made of is vastly different.

A dental implant is comprised of three components — a titanium post and abutment, and the restorative crown. Titanium is strong, durable, and most importantly—it’s biocompatible. What does that mean? It means that your body will not reject the implant.

Unlike other metals and substances, sometimes the body will reject them. Titanium, however, is proven to work well within the body not just in dental implants but also in other things like knee replacements as well. Since the materials are artificial, bacteria that cause cavities and tooth decay cannot penetrate or react with the implants. This is why dental implants, with proper care, can last a lifetime.

Oral Hygiene Is Crucial For Longevity

So, if the implants are immune to cavities, then why do we still get on a soapbox about oral hygiene? Easy—your gums are not artificial. Gum disease is still a potential threat if you don’t brush and floss daily. You aren’t doing it for the implants or artificial crowns—you’re doing it because your gums need care too.

You see, while implants function like teeth this means food also can get stuck in between them—just like teeth. If you don’t brush and floss and remove those particles, bacteria will flourish and cause gum disease.

With gum disease, your gums recede and weaken and it’s often painful. But more importantly, it can cause your implants to become unstable and fall out. Additionally, if you only have one or two implants, you have to remember the healthy teeth you still have. They aren’t impervious to bacteria, so if you don’t brush and floss, you’re going to do real damage.

To put it bluntly—your implants should last a lifetime unless you cause them to fail prematurely due to a lack of good oral hygiene.

How Do You Care For Dental Implants?

The oral hygiene regimen we prescribe for dental implants is not much different than for patients with natural teeth. Routine daily brushing and flossing are crucial and of course, regular dental exams and cleanings.

However, there’s a few slight nuances to caring for dental implants that are slightly different than dealing with natural teeth. With that in mind, here’s some tips to make sure you’re giving your implants the best oral care.

Use a Softer Nylon Brush

When you get dental implants you might find yourself needing a different toothbrush. We recommend a soft nylon brush because the bristles are flexible and gentle. Additionally, when you have a mix of natural teeth and dental implants, you might need a different design of toothbrush.

In cases like these, most patients require the use of a specially designed toothbrush called an interdental toothbrush. It’s a toothbrush with extra small bristles that can squeeze between your implants and neighboring teeth. In general, you want to avoid hard-bristled toothbrushes as they can scuff the fine finish on your implants. Other than that just keep a regular brushing and flossing routine with those gentler brushes.

Avoid Abrasives

Let’s just go down the list here given all the whitening trends and toothpaste trends that border on quackery.

  • Do not use charcoal toothpaste or any toothpaste with abrasives they can damage the finish.
  • Stick with gentle kinds of toothpaste or ones made especially for dental implants which are available by prescription.
  • Avoid toothpaste and mouthwash with strong flavors such as cinnamon or peppermint. They can cause discomfort in your mouth. Something like unflavored Closys mouthwash is a better alternative, or any unflavored, alcohol-free mouthwash.

Floss Everyday

Even though we give patients free dental floss as do thousands of dentists across the country, less than 18% of American adults floss daily. That means most of the adults in this country aren’t flossing enough for good hygiene.

If this is you—it’s time to make a change with the significant investment you’ve made in dental implants. When you have implants, flossing is even more important than before implants. This is because plaque can build up easily around the implants. As you know, this can lead to gum disease and other oral health issues.

There are plenty of flosses available that are specifically made for use with dental implants just like with toothpaste. Knowing that, there is no reason why you can’t floss and brush your teeth at least twice a day.

No More Hard Or Sticky Foods

Eating foods that are hard or sticky can do serious damage to your implants just as it can natural teeth. Again, with a significant investment in dental implants, you want to avoid situations or foods that can damage them. These foods you should avoid or be very careful eating after implants include:

  • Ice
  • Caramels (hard and soft ones)
  • Dried fruit pieces
  • Jolly Ranchers and other similar hard candies
  • Hardshell tacos or tortilla chips
  • Potato chips
  • Raw carrots
  • Apples
  • Steak
  • Hearty crusty bread such as artisan bread

When you’re extra cautious with these foods or avoid them when possible, you’ll keep your implants healthy.

Cut Out Tobacco & Alcohol Usage

Avoiding alcohol and tobacco products are good ideas for extending your overall health. When it comes to dental implants, the benefit is even better Tobacco and excessive alcohol use both contribute to hindering the healing process after the procedure.

In the long term, these two vices can affect blood circulation, and respiratory issues as well. When your overall health suffers, so do your implants.

See Your Dentist Regularly

Dental implants do improve the quality of your smile and your life. However, you still need to see your dentist regularly. This can ensure that all minor issues are identified before they turn into huge problems. Caring properly for your implants and seeing the dentist regularly can make your implants last the rest of your life and beyond.

Come See Dr. Nahlah For Dental Implants

Taking care of your dental implants is not at all difficult. Just do your diligence and keep the routine regularly and you’ll be just fine.

If you’re considering dental implants and need someone you can trust— contact us today and schedule your free consultation.