Dental implants are dentists’ #1 choice to treat missing teeth. They are the only dental restoration treatment that uses a natural-looking-like tooth to transform your smile.
American Academy of Implant Dentistry reveals that nearly 3 Million people have dental implants in the United States, and the figure is constantly growing by 500,000 every year. Their popularity is because they offer a durable solution with low maintenance.
If you recently got implants or are planning to get one, here is a guide on ‘how to care for dental implants.’ While they are easy to care for, you must follow a particular oral hygiene routine to keep them as long as possible.
Why must you care for your Dental Implant?
Typically, dental implants are made of ceramic, porcelain, or titanium. All these materials are exceptionally durable and are not subject to break or decay. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taken care of.
Improper care and negligence, like using abrasive materials, can weaken their base, etch away the crown, and cause them to fall ultimately.
Even though dental implants can never get cavities, the gums surrounding them are always at risk of developing gum disease.
Gum disease promotes bacterial infection development in the gum tissues and, if left untreated, can lead to periodontitis or peri-implantits. Such conditions ultimately progress to
- Bone loss
- Dental implant removal
- Implant failure
- Additional dental work
- Impacted surrounding teeth
This is why one must care for their dental implants by following the hygiene tips below. Not just they promise you oral health but improve the life span of your implants.
9 Tips to Care for Dental Implants
Dental implant maintenance is easier than you think. In fact, it all comes down to caring for your gums and mouth. Here are some essential dental implant care tips that help extend their life.
1. Brush Twice a Day
Just like your natural teeth, your dental implants require the same care to prevent from damage. With dental implants, it’s crucial to brush correctly, covering all the hard-to-reach areas. Avoid brushing too hard to prevent exposing implants post.
2. Floss Regularly
Dentists recommend patients with dental implants floss at least once a day. The best time to floss is before brushing to remove plaque buildup between the teeth and later remove it with fluoride-containing toothpaste.
Note: Those who find flossing difficult can opt for a water flosser. Even though nothing can replace traditional flossing, a water flosser can be a great way to avoid bleeding and reduce inflammation.
3. Use a Soft-bristle Brush
Whether it's dental implants or natural teeth, one must avoid using a hard-bristle brush for dental hygiene. We recommend using a soft-bristle brush to improve the longevity of your dental implants.
Note: Both electric and manual toothbrushes have the same results as per studies. So choose whatever works for you.
4. Use ADA-approved Toothpaste
When buying toothpaste, try to look for ADA-approved ones, as studies show that using abrasive toothpaste can cause damage to your crown as well as your top-layer of your teeth - dental enamel.
While you may not find immediate damage, it weakens your teeth over time, making them prone to chips and breakage.
Note: Try to avoid teeth-whitening toothpaste as they are more damaging to your teeth than non-whitening formulas.
5. Lifestyle Changes for Healthy Implants
The durability or longevity of your implants is also based on your lifestyle choices. Following are some useful tips to make lifestyle changes and practice good oral hygiene.
6. Avoid Hard and Junk Foods
Hard and junk foods, especially the ones that are chewy and excessively sweet, must be avoided as they can stick around to your implants and cause plaque buildup.
With dental implants, you should avoid the consumption of the following foods:
- Hard candies
- Hard shell tacos
- Crusty bread
- Potatoes chips
- Dried fruits
7. Avoid Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol has high sugar content, which promotes dental carries, commonly called tooth decay. Similarly, alcohol is also damaging to dental implants and, if not avoided, could impact the longevity of your implants.
Dentist strictly prohibits alcohol consumption post a dental surgery as it could slow down the healing process and can speed up plaque build-ups in the long run. Ideally, you should avoid drinking at least 6 months post your dental treatment.
8. Quit Smoking
Smoking is extremely detrimental to your oral health. Not just it damages your teeth, but it increases your chances of developing cancer.
As far as dental implants are concerned, smoking slows down the healing process by weakening the gums surrounding the implants. Also, it can badly stain your newly installed implants.
9. Go for Dental Check-ups every 6 Months
How would you know if you are caring for your dental implants correctly? Routine dental checkups will help you stay aware of your current dental health and learn new ways to care for your implants.
Visiting your dentist every six months will save you from timely and costly dental treatments in the long run.
How to care for Full Mouth Dental Implants?
The above-provided care instructions work for full-mouth dental implants as well. Try to stick to these instructions and see how it greatly improves your oral health and the longevity of your implants.
How to care for New Dental Implants?
Of course, you need to be extra cautious immediately following getting the dental implants, as you will likely experience some discomfort and swelling in the next two to three days.
Here are a few things that you should consider doing after the procedure:
- To stop bleeding after the implants, use gauze or bite on the sponge placed on the treated area for about 30 minutes.
- For the initial 8 to 12 hours, try not to move unnecessarily and keep your head elevated.
- Try to consume only soft and fluid foods in the initial 24 hours post-surgery.
- Apply an ice bag to the treated area from the outside onto your cheek in 15 minutes intervals.
- Take prescribed medications for swelling and pain management
- Do not rinse your mouth in the initial 24 hours after the surgery
Note: It is best to visit for the procedure with a family member or friend so you don’t have to drive yourself home.
Is Bleeding Normal after Implant?
Dental implants are a complicated procedure, so it’s normal to experience discomfort and bleeding in the first few days after the procedure. However, the bleeding will stop once your gums heal and close the site completely.
How can I make my Implant heal Faster?
Here are a few tips to fasten the healing process after the implants:
- Make modifications to your diet (consume soft and liquid foods)
- Stay hydrated
- Use ice packs
- Quit smoking
- Rinse your mouth with saline water
- Maintain a good oral care routine
How do I know if my Implant is healing correctly?
Ideally, your implants should completely heal in about 2 weeks after the surgery. You should not feel tenderness, pain or discomfort near the implants after the specified healing period. Also, your stitches should be removed or dissolved by this time.
As much as the dental implant procedure is complicated, it is easier to care for them. The lifespan of your implants largely depends on how you care for them.
By following these useful tips on how to care for dental implants, you can keep your restoration healthy and lifelong. Schedule an appointment with your trusted dentist today and learn more about the procedure to get a healthy and perfect arched smile for yourself.