Dental implants are considered the gold standard for missing tooth replacement but only if they last. Taking care of dental implants should be high on your list of priorities once you have had them placed. Here are some tips to help you look after your implants.
We would also recommend that you get a free consultation at your local dental clinic for further information.
Taking Care of Implants Immediately After Dental Implant Surgery
If you’ve recently undergone surgery to have dental implants placed, there are a few things you should be aware of in the days and weeks post-surgery to care for the implant and ease the healing process. For example…
Avoid strenuous activities (sneezing, blowing your nose, coughing or even laughing)
This can irritate the dental implant site and hinder the healing progress. If you must sneeze or blow your nose, do it as gently as possible to avoid placing undue stress around the implant site
Make sure to keep your mouth as clean as possible
A saltwater rinse two or three times a day can reduce the risk of infection by washing away bacteria and other microorganisms that cause disease. It also provides the healthiest environment for the mouth to heal.
Limit your diet to soft foods and food which can be eaten without needing to chew
Your mouth may be painful which can hinder your ability to chew properly. Also as a top tip, you should stick to tepid foods as overly warm or cold foods may cause discomfort.
Alcohol is a depressant that slows down our nerves and muscles, lowering saliva production in our mouths. So it should be avoided after implant surgery. So why is this important?
Saliva’s function is to keep your mouth healthy. It contains enzymes that help to break down food items such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It also keeps your mouth moist and regulates pH. The salivary glands protect against bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. A lack of saliva after dental implant surgery could mean more harmful bacteria in the mouth, increasing the risk of infection.
Taking Care of Dental Implants Daily
While caring for dental implants doesn’t require anything special, practising good oral hygiene habits to keep your mouth clean is essential.
Brushing twice a day and flossing around each dental implant is crucial. You may also find that interdental toothbrushes and other dental aids such as water flossers are better for cleaning around a dental implant than floss.
Osseointegration (when the dental implant and your jawbone fuse together) is a necessary part of the dental implant process and can take many months. Therefore you’ll need to be monitored regularly by your implant dentist.
While osseointegration takes place, you should take care not to chew on anything too hard or place unnecessary stress on the implant post or crown. So avoid anything overly crunchy or sticky, at least until your dental implant has stabilised in the jaw.
Things That Are Detrimental To the Care of Dental Implants
If you are considering implants, see a dentist that offers free consultation appointments to ensure you are a suitable candidate. They will carry out a thorough examination of your mouth and teeth and discuss your medical history.
Factors that can compromise dental implants include:
Bruxism is a condition that causes people to grind their teeth together. It is usually an unconscious habit, and people may not even be aware that they do it. Unfortunately, this can cause a lot of damage to the teeth, and it can also be bad for dental implants. If you are struggling with bruxism, there are some things that you can do to try to stop it. See your dentist for more advice about treatment that typically involves wearing a mouthguard at night to protect the teeth and your dental implants from further damage.
People who smoke are at a higher risk for complications with dental implants. The nicotine in cigarettes can reduce blood flow to the gums and teeth, increasing the chances of developing gum disease.
Additionally, smokers are more likely to get plaque build-up on their teeth, increasing the chances of tooth decay and implant failure. Moreover, people who have smoked for more than ten years have 1.7 times greater risk of implant failure than smokers who have smoked for less than ten years. If you are serious about taking care of dental implants, quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do.
Brushing too hard
Practising good oral hygiene can affect the longevity of a dental implant and dental restoration. However, if you are overly zealous with brushing, you can damage the tooth enamel. Compulsive brushing, a problem of scrubbing too hard and with too much pressure, can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, increasing the chance of infection and recession. In the worst cases, this can cause a dental implant to fail. Ensure you brush with care, using the appropriate pressure and a soft-bristled brush.
The Bottom Line
Taking care of dental implants is no different to caring for your natural teeth. Good oral hygiene is crucial, as are regular dental check-ups with your dentist. Your dentist will notice if anything is amiss with your implants long before you do and can take the necessary action to prevent implant failure.
If you want more information on how to take care of your implants or to find out if they are a suitable treatment, book a free dental consultation near you with one of our dedicated implant dentists.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Science Direct – Osseointegration
Mayo Clinic – Bruxism (teeth grinding)
PubMed Central – The effect of cigarette smoking habits on the outcome of dental implant treatment
Colgate – Is Overbrushing Your Teeth Bad?