Once you have a dental implant set in, how do you care for it? Is care for dental implants the same as care for the rest of your teeth? Read on to learn how to maintain your dental implant. With the right maintenance, it can last just as long as natural molars.
Ways to Care for Your Dental Implants
Brush and Floss Daily
Since dental implants are not natural teeth, they cannot develop cavities. However, bacteria can still accumulate around the implant and the gumline. This is why you still need to maintain your daily brushing and flossing habits. For your daily hygiene practice, treat the implant just like the rest of your molars.
Read also: How to Properly Floss Your Teeth
Use an Interdental Brush
Depending on the surrounding teeth and gums, there may be small gaps and hard-to-reach areas. Use an interdental brush after your regular brushing routine. An interdental brush, also known as a brush pick, is a brush with a narrower head and designed to reach areas a normal brush may miss. Disposable interdental brushes are inexpensive and come in bulk packs. Always have a pack handy.
Don’t Stress the Implant
Dental implants are made from titanium alloy, which is stronger than the bone in natural teeth. However, this does not mean they’re indestructible. Don’t use your implants needlessly by chewing on ice or biting open a bottle cap. For the first few weeks, it’s also best to refrain from chewing on hard foods, such as apples or tough meats.
Maintain Regular Dental Cleanings
Regular checkups with your dentist don’t change after a dental implant. You still need to get routine x-rays, periodontal probes, and cleanings. For dental cleanings, follow the interval outlined by your dentist, which should range from one to four times per year.
Drinking in moderation is fine. However, one negative effect of alcohol is that it dries the mouth. A dry mouth creates a prime breeding ground for bacteria to accumulate around the perimeter of the implant. While the bacteria can’t damage the implant directly, it does erode the gums and bone tissue that support the implant.
If you’re wondering about mouthwash with alcohol, the alcohol content is negligible. Continue to rinse in the morning and evening, or as directed by your dentist.
Massage Your Gums
Massage your gums once a day or every other day, especially in the area surrounding the implant. There are several ways to do this. You can simply use your fingers and apply light pressure to massage the way you massage your muscles. Alternatively, you can use a gum stimulator. A massage stimulates oxygen-rich blood flow to the gums. This creates an aerobic environment. Harmful mouth bacteria thrive in an anaerobic environment with little to no oxygen.
Use a Water Flosser
Use a water flosser as a supplement to traditional flossing. A water irrigator may reach debris you may miss using a string floss or floss pick. This can prove to be effective if you have nooks and crannies around the implant. When using an irrigator, don’t turn the power at the highest setting. Too much water pressure may harm the gums.
Use a Soft-Bristled Brush
Toothbrushes come in soft, medium, and firm bristles. It’s best to aim for soft-bristles. Firm and medium bristles can aggravate the gums. Over time, this can lead to gingival recession. Since the implant is anchored to the gums, this can lead to the implant losing its support.
Read also: Pros and Cons of Dental Implants
Dental Implant Care Begins with a Dental Visit
Caring for dental implants requires regular dental visits to ensure there are no complications. Schedule an appointment with us at Gina Liggio Maestri DDS Family Dentistry for a consultation on dental implants in Lafayette, LA, or a routine checkup of your existing implant. We are committed to providing you and your family with a level of caring clinical excellence in the Acadiana area you’ve never experienced before.