How to Extend the Life of Your Dental Implants
There are a number of steps you can take to ensure the health and integrity of your dental implants. Your periodontist will provide you with a complete list of oral hygiene recommendations following your dental implant procedure. In the meantime, here are a few guidelines and tips for maintaining your dental implants.
1) Visit your dentist regularly.
First and foremost, ensure that you see your dentist on a regular basis. Dental implants benefit from routine cleanings in the same way your natural teeth do. Not only will your dentist be able to identify any early signs of implant failure, potentially making a decisive intervention, but your hygienist will carefully remove plaque that has built up around your gums. This significantly reduces your risk of implant infection.
2) Brush your teeth.
Again, it is important to care for your implants like you would care for your natural teeth. That means brushing at least twice daily using a soft-bristle brush. A low-abrasive toothpaste with tartar control is recommended, and your dentist can recommend a specific brand if need be.
3) Floss twice daily.
In addition to brushing, also be sure to floss. Get in between the teeth and the abutments. (Abutments are the connective pieces that attach the implant to the dental prosthesis.) You may benefit from using an oral irrigator, also known as a water flosser. Water flossers are especially recommended for patients who have been treated with the All-on-4 dental implant method. Your periodontist can provide further detail.
4) Use a mouth rinse.
Antimicrobial mouth rinses can help prevent the buildup of bacteria in your mouth. In doing so, these mouth rinses can reduce your risk of implant infection. Talk to your periodontist about whether a mouth rinse is right for you.
5) Abstain from smoking.
Smoking can be detrimental to your dental implant recovery, as it slows the body’s natural healing processes. For this reason, we urge patients to stop smoking before and immediately following their dental implant procedure. However, to ensure the best long-term results, it is best to simply give up tobacco products altogether.
6) Be careful with your diet.
One of the great things about getting dental implants is that you can eat and drink practically anything you want, without making many lifestyle adjustments. However, we recommend letting your coffee and tea cool a bit before you start drinking. Steer clear of super-hard foods, including raw vegetables. Also, avoid sticky candies, like taffy and gum.
7) Stop chewing on ice.
Along with hard foods, we recommend that dental implant patients refrain from chewing on ice. Ice is a very hard substance, and it can cause your replacement tooth to become damaged.
8) Be alert.
Vigilance is one of the best lines of defense against implant failure. Make sure you know some of the common signs of implant failure and seek treatment at the first sign that something is wrong. Often, early intervention can save your implants. In particular, seek dental care if you notice pain or swelling around your implants or if you sense that your implants have become loose.
9) Follow aftercare instructions carefully.
After your initial dental implant procedure, you will be provided with a full list of directions to ensure a speedy recovery. You must follow these guidelines carefully for as long as your surgeon tells you. Compliance with these recovery guidelines can ultimately help you prevent early implant failure, resulting from improper healing.
10) Talk to your periodontist.
Finally, keep in mind that your periodontist is in your corner and wants to do anything possible to ensure the long-term success of your dental implants. If you ever have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to your periodontist’s office directly.