2 Ways Poor Dental Hygiene Can Affect Dental Replacements

There are several dental replacement options available to replace a tooth lost to decay or trauma. The replacement options are made from artificial materials made to resemble a natural tooth in color, size, and shape. Because the replacements are artificial, patients may think that it's okay to skip these areas during oral hygiene. But failing to treat the replacements with as much care as for a natural tooth can lead to some unwelcome dental complications.

Here are a couple of ways poor oral hygiene can affect dental replacements. Discuss any problems arising immediately with a general or cosmetic dentist to prevent future damage.

Dental Bridge: Support Failure

A dental bridge has two artificial tooth crowns that are bonded to the natural teeth on either side of the gap. An artificial tooth suspends between those crowns and hangs in place of the missing tooth. Bonds are one of the more affordable dental replacement options and offer stability via the supporting teeth.

Crown-covered teeth still need proper oral healthcare to prevent bacteria from building up between the crowns and gums or in the area under the suspended teeth. If bacteria keeps building up in those areas, your teeth can start to decay from the bottom up without you realizing there's a problem. If left untreated, this decay can weaken the structure of the teeth so much that the crown loosens. Loose crowns can cause the whole bridge to fail.  

Include the crowns and artificial tooth in your daily oral healthcare routine. Keep all dental cleaning appointments so that the dentist can more thoroughly clean the hard to reach areas

Dental Implants: Peri-Implantitis

Dental implants are a fairly long process with a few steps interspersed with long healing periods. The process starts with the dentist drilling a canal into the jawbone and inserting a metal root. Your gums are then stitched shut and the area is left to heal until the bone heals around the root to hold it into place. Later, a metal post is snapped onto the root and the gums are left to heal around the post.

During these healing periods, it's important to remain diligent on oral hygiene. Properly clean the gum area both during the initial healing process and while waiting for the gums to heal around the post.

Inattention to the gums can allow bacteria to grow in the area. The bacteria can cause periodontal disease, which can be cleared up with a deep cleaning before the artificial tooth is placed. But if the disease progresses, it can worsen with the placement of the artificial tooth, which will essentially seal bacteria between the tooth and gums.

The spreading infection can start to wear away the supporting gum tissue and bone. This weakens the support for the tooth and cause the implant to fail. This process is called peri-implantits and can only be reversed using antibiotics and, depending on the level of damage, bone or gum grafts.