December 18, 2014 – Television personality Sharon Osbourne became an unlikely poster woman for dental implant health when her artificial tooth loosened and fell from her mouth during a Dec. 16 episode of the CBS daytime chat show “The Talk.” The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) encourages those who wear dental implants to care for them through twice-daily brushing, flossing at least once a day, and regular visits with a periodontist.
“Individuals who wear dental implants should care for them the way they take care of their natural teeth,” says AAP president Joan Otomo-Corgel, DDS, MPH, who is also a practicing periodontist in Los Angeles. “Just like your natural teeth, dental implants are susceptible to periodontal disease. They are prone to infection, can become loose, and may even require removal if not cared for properly. However, with the proper individualized, implants can last a lifetime.”
Dental implants are artificial replacements for a tooth and its root, and they are often a treatment option for patients who have lost teeth due to periodontal disease, injury, or another ailment. “Implants can look and act just like natural teeth once they are properly placed in the mouth. In addition to restoring health and function, an implant can keep a person’s smile intact by filling spaces created by lost teeth.” Dr. Otomo-Corgel says.
Dental implant procedures can be performed by a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in implant placement and in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal (or gum) disease. Affecting nearly 50 percent of American adults, periodontal disease is a preventable and treatable inflammatory condition that if not treated, can damage the tissue and bone surrounding the teeth and can possibly result in tooth loss.
A person can minimize his or her periodontal disease risk through regular oral health care habits and by undergoing a yearly comprehensive periodontal evaluation, in which a periodontist assesses the health of a person’s teeth, gums, and bone structure to determine gum disease risk.
“If a person is found to have periodontal disease, a periodontist can determine the best course of treatment,” Dr. Otomo-Corgel says. “If a dental implant is needed, the periodontist—who builds and restores the foundation for teeth and implants—is the expert for placing it and making sure it stays healthy.”