Understanding Dental Implants And Keratinized Tissue

Losing your tooth is an emergency, and once your emergency dentist evaluates the problem, you may need a dental implant. If you have a dental implant surgery scheduled, then you may have many meetings with your oral surgeon to discuss the surgery itself, preparation, and also appropriate aftercare. Good aftercare must begin as soon as you get home from the dental office. If you speak with your dentist, then you may hear about tissue healing around the implant device. As tissue heals, your oral surgeon wants to see keratinized tissue developing. Keep reading to learn what this is and how home care can help it develop. 

What Is Keratinized Tissue?

Tissue that is keratinized is any tissue of the body that contains a high level of keratin. For example, the outer layer of the skin is keratinized and able to protect the epithelial cells from damage. Keratin is a structural protein that can create a barrier to prevent water, bacteria, and viruses from getting into the body. When it comes to the gum tissues, the water-insoluble material helps to create a blockage between the mucosa of the mouth and the more sensitive gum tissues that sit beneath the gum line. 

Keratinized tissues can and will form a band around the bottom edge of the dental implant if the mouth is kept clean and the implant area is free of infection. The tissue is tough, thick, and able to resist recession. Its formation is important in preventing peri-implantitis and other serious infections that can cause implant failure. 

How Can You Help The Tissue Develop?

Keratinized tissue starts to develop immediately once the implant healing process starts. Basically, you can expect the tissues to begin forming as the swelling reduces around the implant area and the incision start to form new tissues. To encourage the keratin rich tissues, make sure to clean thoroughly around the implant area with a small brush that can get into the crevices around the implant abutment. Interdental brushes in the .4 or .5 millimeter range are a good choice. 

Water flossers are a good choice both before and after you receive your implant tooth. You should think about using regular dental floss as well. A criss-cross or shoelace technique can be used once the implant tooth is cemented in place. Place the floss around the back of the tooth, criss-cross or overlap it towards the front of the tooth, and then twist the tooth around and underneath the gums to clean bacteria and food debris away. 

Gum stimulators and other tools can be used to help with the formation of keratinized tissue, so make sure to ask your dental professional for a full explanation of all the techniques that can assist you.