Caring for dental implants is not a demanding task. Obviously, some things differ from regular maintenance. Learning how to make necessary adjustments to your routines can increase the longevity and overall health of your implants.
What are Oral Implants?
Oral Implants are put in place after losing a tooth, whether to disease or injury. The loss of a tooth can cause many issues, including rapid bone loss, speech issues, or changes to chewing patterns. These things can often cause extreme discomfort, both physically and in self-esteem. Receiving an implant can significantly improve the overall quality of life for the patient.
After receiving an implant procedure, patients should be aware of the healing process, best practices when caring for implants, and things to avoid to protect the integrity of the implant. The longevity of the implant relies on attentive care and knowledge of the implant itself.
Implants have three structures that make up the entire implant. The crown is the visible portion of the implant that is at risk of breaking or deteriorating over time. There are two systems below that attach to the jaw and keep the implant in line with the gums. These systems are not visible but require care, especially directly following the procedure.
Things to Avoid
Following the initial procedure, be sure to follow the oral hygiene instructions provided by the surgeon. The main things to avoid are smoking, using a straw, spitting, and touching the surgical site with the tongue or fingers. Following these directions can help avoid infection and prevent potentially dislodging the blood clot that has formed.
The products you usually use may be too harsh to use on an implant. Your toothbrush bristles, if too rough, can irritate the gums around the implant, which can cause intense discomfort or pain. Consider trading your flavored (i.e., mint or cinnamon) toothpaste and mouthwash with sensitive cleaning products instead.
Avoid certain foods such as caramel, dried fruits, hard candies, and steak. These foods can result in damage to the implant as well as the surrounding teeth. Abstaining from smoking and drinking alcohol is not only good for your overall health but is necessary for the healing process. Implants take about six months to heal. Alcohol slows down the healing process and can cause implants to take more time to heal; this should be avoided as much as possible.
Be sure to visit the dentist regularly. Receiving routine cleanings can help upkeep oral health. These visits should be scheduled twice yearly. Any signs of irritation or infection shouldn’t be taken lightly. Schedule an appointment with a dentist or surgeon as soon as possible.
Swapping products such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and mouthwash is extremely beneficial to the long-term health of implants. Choosing a nylon brush with gentle bristles can help avoid scratching the surface of your implants. Not flossing regularly is detrimental to oral health in general, but now that implants are present, this can cause even further damage. There is a wide range of specific types of floss for implants meant to prevent irritation.
Caring for dental implants is not a demanding task. Some things differ from regular maintenance, but making necessary adjustments to your routines can increase the longevity and overall health of your implants.
For other questions or concerns regarding the care of your implants, reach out to Dr. Shawn Davis at the Oral and Facial Surgery Institute here!