I finally wrapped up my dental implant procedure about six months ago. I got one of my front teeth replaced and it’s a near twin for the natural tooth next to it. The dentist seriously did some beautiful work. It feel great and everything too. Honestly, that’s what I was more worried about going into this… that I would have trouble healing or something would go wrong with the surgery. Nope. It’s all been great. When I went in for my first post-op teeth cleaning and checkup about two months ago, the doctor said everything looked great to him too. However, shortly after, I noticed that just the replacement tooth seemed to be picking up brown stains more than the neighbors. I initially thought it was just me… and maybe it is since I’m sitting at home all the time and keep looking in the mirror… but it’s really starting to bother me. If I really get in there and scrub, it looks a lot better, but regular brushing doesn’t seem to remove it entirely and I’m worried that if I get too vigorous, I’m going to damage it. Is there a better way to get rid of the stain on my dental implant or is this par for the course?
Dental implants don’t usually stain like that and the timeline here is a little fishy. You said that it was a great match and looked natural up until you went in for your first cleaning. You may have not put the pieces together, but it sounds like something happened between the time the dental implant looked good and when it started picking up those stains. Sadly, the likely culprit is the dental cleaning you had. Sometimes, inexperienced hygienists, or even assistants in states where they’re allowed to polish teeth, use an abrasive paste when polishing teeth. Your enamel can withstand it to some degree, but the prosthesis can develop tiny scratches that collect stains if it isn’t treated gently. If you weren’t collecting stains before the cleaning, it’s entirely possible the tooth was damaged during it.
It can be difficult to get into tiny spaces with a regular-sized toothbrush. Next time you’re at the store, have a walk down the dental aisle and look for some new tools. You’ll find brushes of every shape and size. Some are specially designed for interproximal spaces (the spaces between teeth) and that might be a good fit for your purpose. Failing that, you may have better luck with a brush designed for small kids. You may also have better luck with a Waterpik or similar. It’s a great alternative to floss and can help keep your gums healthier overall but it takes some getting used to—expect your first few tries to be messy.
It may not be possible to have the tooth checked out right away and, with something cosmetic like this, it’s more of an annoyance than an urgent dental issue. However, when you do go back to the dentist again, have him check it out. If it is scratched, the only way to fix it is to replace the uppermost portion (the crown or prosthesis) but he should have no trouble doing this for you.
This blog is sponsored by Dr. Steve Sirin, Elgin dental implant provider.