Dental implants are the most effective way to transform your smile, whether you have missing teeth or loose dentures. And to avoid dental implant problems, you need to know how to take care of them. By working hard to develop and maintain an implant care regimen, you can enjoy a beautiful brilliant smile for a lifetime.
The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene for Teeth Implants
Unlike real teeth, dental implants aren’t made of enamel (thin outer covering). This means they do not develop cavities, as there is no enamel for the plaque to erode. However, this does not mean that good oral hygiene is not important.
When you ignore oral health, bacteria in the plaque will build up near the gums and cause gum disease. For instance, a common sign of dental implant problems is bleeding of the surrounding gum tissue. This is a condition known as mucositis.
Other problems that indicate you’re heading towards dental implant failure include:
- Inflamed gums
- Swollen gums
- Gum recession
- Loosening implants
- Chewing problems
- Pain or discomfort around the gums
Caring for Your Dental Implants
Do dental implants require special care? Not really. Dental implant maintenance is not difficult, and it honestly comes down to taking care of your mouth and gums. This makes them low-maintenance dental fixtures, considering mouth and gum care is something you should be doing every day anyway.
Here are some dental implant care tips that will help extend their longevity.
Post Surgery Dental Implant Care
Dental implants can take up to six months to fully heal. But if you don’t treat them right from the start, that healing period can be extended. After surgery, it is recommended to stick to soft foods exclusively for the first 5-7 days. Don’t eat anything spicy or drink hot liquids during this period either.
Also, it is important to avoid alcohol in the first 2-3 days after getting your dental implants. This is because alcohol can hinder the healing process, leading to a slow recovery. Because of this, your dentist might recommend abstaining from alcohol until your teeth implants completely heal. That way, you don’t end up confused and wondering “How long does it take to recover from dental implants?” after six months have passed.
Brush and Floss Daily
As part of your oral hygiene routine, you will need to brush your teeth twice a day. It is recommended to use a combination of a soft-bristle toothbrush and low-abrasive toothpaste. This will gently remove the plaque around your teeth and implants without scratching them, damaging your gums, or causing any discomfort in the mouth.
For places where a normal toothbrush cannot reach, use an interdental brush. This is a tiny brush that is specifically designed to remove plaque and food bits in between teeth and implants.
In addition to brushing, you also need to floss at least once a day. Dental floss can get into those hard-to-reach places that even an interdental brush cannot reach. If you’re finding it hard to use normal dental floss, try using floss threaders instead.
To complete your oral hygiene regimen, use an antimicrobial mouth rinse. This will ensure that any bacteria in your mouth is eliminated and washed out. It will also strengthen the enamel of your natural teeth.
Plus, all the brushing, flossing, and rinsing will leave your mouth feeling fresh.
Taking care of your teeth, implants, and gums needs to be a habit, which can be hard to get into if you don’t already have a dental hygiene routine. If you’re having trouble maintaining your oral hygiene, here are some tricks that can help:
- Always have your dental products nearby, whether it is in your car, desk, or handbag
- Set a reminder on your phone if you’re too busy to remember
- Get someone to be your dental hygiene buddy and keep you accountable
- Reward yourself for sticking to your routine for a week or month to keep yourself incentivized
- Change your mindset about dental hygiene by reminding yourself that you deserve to have a healthy mouth – dental hygiene isn’t a punishment; it’s self-care!
Only Use Implants to Chew Food
Dental implants are stronger than your natural teeth, as they’re usually made from titanium. However, this does not mean that they’re indestructible. The longer we have implants, the more natural they feel, causing us to use them for anything other than chewing. This includes biting our fingernails, opening bottles, and holding hairpins when both hands are busy.
Dental implants weren’t meant to be used as tools (and neither were your natural teeth for that matter). Considering that dental implants don’t come cheap, you shouldn’t extend their use beyond chewing.
Avoid Hard-to-Chew Foods
Dental implants don’t give you full chewability, meaning there are some foods you need to avoid to keep them healthy. If the food is hard to chew (not just hard foods in general), like popcorn, raw carrots, nuts, potato chips, or hard candy, don’t put it in your mouth. A word on apples: if you must eat one, cut it up first (don’t bite directly into it).
Avoiding cigarettes is essential to having good health overall. When it comes to dental implants, smoking can significantly reduce the rate of healing after surgery. In the long-term, the effects of tobacco on your mouth and teeth can range from gum disease to full-blown periodontitis, which can then lead to tooth loss.
Of course, it is not easy to quit smoking, and you will have to make big adjustments to your lifestyle. For example, you can stay away from people, places, and other triggers. You can also hang out with non-smokers or exercise to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Regular Dental Check-Ups
Going to your dentist or hygienist regularly is a great way to ensure the longevity of your teeth implants. Your dentist can catch problems early and provide treatments or professional cleanings to prevent premature loss of dental implants.
We’re Here to Help
Dental implants can significantly transform your quality of life. Dean Dental Solutions would love to help! We can help answer questions like are dental implants are right for you? What are the types of dental implants available? How much do they cost? What steps are involved in the dental implant procedure? Or even, how do you take care of your teeth implants?
Whatever question you have, give us a call at 501-771-2911. Or book an appointment with one of our dental specialists.