Are you living with dental implants? If so, then you may be wondering how to keep your smile looking beautiful. Whether this is your first time caring for a replacement tooth or if you’re an experienced implant patient, it’s important to know the basics when it comes to maintaining the longevity of these restorations.
In this blog post, we will cover what steps must be taken so that your dental implants stay healthy over time – from brushing and flossing to visiting the dentist regularly. We’ll discuss the proper care of dental implants and dental implant maintenance.
We hope that by taking these simple yet essential preventative care measures, you can enjoy beautiful smiles for many years. So, let’s get started learning about proper dental implant care today.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a viable dental restoration option for people missing one or more teeth. This long-lasting dental restoration technology uses titanium posts placed into the jaw bone. It provides an anchor point for new replacement teeth.
A dental implant has three parts:
- The implant post:
The post is inserted into a surgically drilled hole in your jawbone. It serves as an anchor for the other parts of the implant.
- The abutment:
The abutment is the connector piece that attaches to the post. It holds either a single replacement tooth or a bridge to replace multiple teeth at once.
- The dental prosthetic:
The artificial tooth or teeth, which could be a dental crown, dentures, or bridges. This is placed on top of the abutment and provides an aesthetically pleasing and functioning replacement for your missing teeth.
Dental implants are designed to replace the roots of missing teeth. They:
- Help preserve facial structure
- Look and feel like real teeth
- Allow for improved eating and speaking ability
- Fill out missing gaps in your smile
- Provide long-term dental protection against further damage or decay
In short, dental implants provide a safe and effective way to restore your smile after tooth loss.
How Do You Clean Under Dental Implants?
The care of dental implants is incredibly important. Dental implant maintenance starts with regular cleaning. But how do you clean under a dental implant? Here’s what you need to know about proper oral care with dental implants:
- Floss your teeth daily using a special flosser designed to reach underneath the prostheses. Use a water flosser, if available, to get rid of stuck food particles.
- Keep an interdental brush on hand to access hard-to-reach crevices and clear away tartar and plaque formed against the bridge or implant crown.
- Be sure to brush around dental bridges, implants and other prostheses thoroughly using a soft-bristled toothbrush (or an electric toothbrush) and non-abrasive toothpaste.
- Schedule regular professional cleanings with your dentist so they can remove any plaque that you may have missed while brushing or flossing.
- Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash. Please stay away from harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, which can damage the surface of your implants and make them more prone to gathering bacteria.
- Ask your dentist about specialised care products specially designed for cleaning around and caring for dental implants.
Implementing these simple techniques into your normal oral hygiene routine can go a long way toward keeping dental implants in optimal shape and lasting for many years.
Are There Special Products I Should Use When Cleaning Dental Implants?
Generally speaking, you should care for your dental implants as you care for your natural teeth with brushing and flossing. However, because of their titanium components, special products like implant-specific toothbrushes, denture brushes, or water flossers are recommended by dentists for extra care when cleaning dental implants.
Choose cleaning and care products that contain natural ingredients rather than harsh chemicals. Harsh chemicals can corrode the implant and result in damage.
Non-abrasive cleaners such as an oral irrigator or gum stimulator are also essential because they help remove plaque and tartar from around the implant and protect against tissue damage or infection.
Finally, regular trips to the dentist for checkups are important so that your implants stay in top condition.
What Are the Dos and Don'ts of Dental Implant Care?
Dental implants are a great way to restore the health and appearance of your smile after tooth loss, but like with any tooth replacements, it’s important to care for your implants properly. To keep them in optimal condition after dental implant surgery, we recommend a few dos and don’ts.
- Opt for soft foods during recovery time. While dental implants allow you to eat your favourite foods, you still have to avoid sticky foods that can get stuck in and around them.
- Follow your implant dentist’s instructions on post-surgery care.
- Maintain good oral hygiene habits as directed by your dentist, with regular brushing and flossing at least twice a day. Pay close attention to adjacent teeth.
- Rinse with lukewarm saltwater after you eat to keep bacteria away.
- Use non-abrasive toothpaste when cleaning dental implants.
- Visit the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings to make sure everything is in good condition.
- Smoke and drink alcohol until healing is complete.
- Use harsh scrubs or abrasive materials, such as a toothbrush with hard bristles, when brushing your teeth.
- Eat sugary foods and drinks that can cause plaque buildup around the implants.
- Chew on hard objects such as ice or popcorn kernels that can loosen the implant.
- Engage in high-impact activities, such as contact sports, for at least a few weeks after dental surgery.
- Schedule any major dental treatments until healing is complete.
Implant maintenance and care are important to stay in good condition and last many years.
What Are the Consequences of Not Taking Care of Dental Implants?
Not taking care of your implants can have dire consequences on their longevity and oral health.
Without proper cleaning, debris and plaque may accumulate around the implant, leading to infection. An infection of this kind could potentially cause the failure of the implant or, worse – the spread of infection throughout the body, leading to serious medical complications.
Additionally, when one fails to care for their dental implant adequately, they might also run the risk of gum recession at the site of the device. A receding gum line is aesthetically unappealing and exposes part of the root, making an individual vulnerable to bacteria-induced infection.
In summary, taking care of your dental implants is extremely important to prevent long-term damage or complications.
Do Dental Implants Fail?
Dental implants provide a reliable solution for the long-term replacement of teeth.
Unfortunately, they don’t always last as expected. If you’re considering dental implants to achieve an attractive smile, learning why they could fail can help you make a well-informed decision.
Common reasons why dental implant failure can occur may include the following:
- Inadequate placement of the implant
- Poor oral hygiene prior to and after implant placement
- Gum disease (periodontal disease) or infection in the gums before or after the surgical procedure
- Excessive force on the teeth
- Presence of underlying health conditions and taking medications that can affect healing
- Age-related bone tissue loss around the tooth implant
- Failing to follow through with post-surgery preventive care, including brushing, flossing and regular dentist visits.
Avoiding dental implant failure can be a challenging task. But here are a few simple tips that are fairly easy to do so your implants stay in good health:
- Brush your teeth regularly and floss daily to prevent plaque buildup and remove particles that could lead to infection and tooth decay.
- Avoid habits like chewing on hard objects or grinding your teeth.
- Schedule regular visits with your oral hygienist for timely cleaning and maintenance.
- Inform your dentist about changes in how the implants feel or how your gums look or feel. This can help you spot potential problems before they occur.
By following these steps, you can protect yourself from needless complications regarding dental implant failure.
Can Dental Implants Be Replaced?
Dental implants can improve dental health and give a beautiful smile for years to come. Although dental implants are designed to last long-term, they can be replaced if necessary.
If dental implants become damaged due to an accident or dental care negligence, a dental professional should assess the situation and determine if a replacement is necessary. If a dental implant needs replacing, the process will involve the removal of the existing dental implant and placing a new dental implant that has been modified to fit the remaining teeth.
The ideal way to make sure that dental implant replacement is successful is by visiting a qualified dental professional to receive high-quality medical attention and prevent further damage.
Although dental implants are a common and successful procedure, they still require careful monitoring and regular visits to the dentist to maintain them. Dental implants aren’t cheap. They cost thousands of dollars. But patients who take proper care of their dental implants can expect them to last for many years.
If you’re interested in learning more about dental implants or if you would like to book an appointment, please visit our website or call Hills Family Dental Centre. We would be happy to answer any of your questions or concerns.
Frequently Asked Questions
For those looking to get dental implants, the healing process can be long and arduous compared to other tooth replacement options. Thankfully, there are a few practices you can do to help facilitate faster healing times. These include:
- Taking antibiotics as prescribed by your dental professional can help reduce swelling and treat any infection.
- Maintaining good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing near the dental implant site is also essential.
- Eating various healthy foods plays a major role in dental implant healing. Getting the right amounts of vitamins and minerals helps ensure the body has all the necessary nutrients during the healing period.
- Regular visits with your dentist, while the implants are still new, will provide proper support and guidance to make sure everything is going correctly and getting in place correctly.
- Following post-operative instructions meticulously is important because it helps lower the risks of dental implant failure and provides an easier healing journey overall.
The most common sign of a dental implant infection is inflammation in and around the area and pain that worsens over time. Other signs may include:
- Discharge from the affected area
- Warm feeling over the implant site
- Difficulty chewing or biting
If any of these symptoms arise, you must consult your dentist immediately.
Maintaining regular professional dental checkups is also important. This helps your dentist identify any potential issues before they become more serious. This allows you to receive timely treatment and prevent infection from worsening.
Yes, anyone who is in good oral health can have dental implants. However, your dentist needs to assess if you’re a suitable candidate for the dental implant procedure. This is because certain pre-existing conditions may make it unsuitable.
Your dentist must review your medical and dental history before implantation. They will also take X-rays of your mouth and jaw to check the state of your oral health. If any issues are detected, they must be addressed before you can receive a dental implant.
Your dentist may also recommend specific lifestyle changes for optimum implant success. In some cases, bone grafts or sinus lifts might be needed to make sure that the implant has a strong foundation. They will then create a custom treatment plan for your specific needs.
Most dental implants can last decades with average lifespans of 10-15 years. However, many factors come into play in determining how long a dental implant will last, including:
- The condition and quality of the underlying natural bone structure, which is why bone grafting is sometimes needed
- How much environmental stress wears down the implant’s surface
- Smoking habits
- Type of material used
- Overall oral hygiene
- General health