6 Steps to Maintain Your Dental Implants
Dental implants have always taken the cake when it comes to choosing the best solution for permanently replacing missing or damaged teeth. Dental implants deserve the love it gets. They are long-lasting, durable, look, feel and function like natural teeth and are easy to maintain.
However, they should not be regarded as ‘fit and forget’.Just because dental implants are “easy” to care for, doesn’t mean your oral hygiene routine should be any less stringent. Neglected implants develop plaque and tartar and can also be susceptible to bacteria, which may result in gum disease. This causes eventual bone loss around the implants leading to implant failure. How well you maintain dental implants directly impact how long and well they last.
How to maintain dental implants on a daily basis?
Proper oral hygiene and regular dental checkups are crucial for the health and maintenance of your natural teeth and dental implants. Here are 6 ways to maintain dental implants to extend their longevity.
1. Postoperative dental implant care: It is critical to follow the post operative instructions by the dentist to ensure proper healing takes place after the surgery. Care should be taken to isolate the implant site for at least 2 weeks after surgery. It is recommended to stick to a soft diet and chew away from the site during the 10-12 week integration period.
Other after-care instructions include not spitting for 24 hours after surgery, saline rinses after meals, avoiding hot and spicy diet and strenuous activity at least for a week after surgery. Medications must be taken as prescribed by the clinician. The average healing time for this surgery is 3-4 months which varies from patient to patient.
2. Brush daily: Brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft bristled tooth paste or electronic toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste is necessary for long term success. This will gently yet effectively remove any plaque buildup and food particles stuck between the teeth, without damaging the implant. For those hard to reach spots, use a tiny interdental brush that is specifically designed to remove food particles and plaque from between teeth.
3. Floss daily: In addition to brushing, you should also floss once a day. This will help reach the places even interdental brush might not. Use a dental tape or implant specific floss in a shoe-shine manner around the implant site. Be cautious of how you floss around the dental implant. You should never push the floss down into the gum pocket to avoid disturbing the peri-implant region. You can also use a water flosser to reduce inflammation, bleeding and plaque buildup.
4. Avoid hard to chew foods: There is no doubt that dental implants are strong and durable, but they are not indestructible. There are certain foods you must avoid in order to maintain dental implants, at least in the few months of having them. Avoid hard to chew foods such as popcorn, nuts, raw vegetables, candy and chewing gum in the initial weeks following the surgery. Make sure you brush and floss your teeth after sugary food items and beverages.
Do not use your implant teeth as tools to open bottle caps, bite your nails or chew on ice cubes. Anything that damages your natural teeth can harm your dental implants as well.
5. Say no to smoking: When it comes to dental implant procedure , smoking can significantly delay the healing process and the failure rate of implant osseointegration is considerably higher among smokers. Smoking tobacco increases bacterial growth in the mouth that can travel to the implant site and cause infection. It is advised to quit smoking for at least 3 months to ensure proper healing and implant osseointegration.
In the long term- the effects of smoking on the oral cavity include but are not restricted to periodontal disease, tooth decay and tooth loss.
6. Regular dental check-ups: Making a visit to your dentist once in 6 months after your implant tooth is placed is a great way to ensure your implant lasts a life-time. Your dentist can catch problems early and provide treatments or professional cleanings to prevent premature loss of dental implants. Regular hygiene appointments with your dentist can also help to remind you how to correctly maintain dental implants, and improve your cleaning technique as required.
Getting implants is the first step,but to maintain dental implants in the correct way so that they last a lifetime is what makes the difference. It is your commitment to oral hygiene and willingness to attend regular maintenance reviews that will have the most influence on how long they will last.
By following the above mentioned steps on how to care for a dental implant, you are doing your part to keep your restoration healthy. Interested in getting dental implant treatment by our expert oral surgeon at Dental World? Book a consultation today by calling +91 98301 84084 or filling out the online appointment form.