Dental implants are renowned for offering the best quality of life. Now, having one or several missing teeth no longer has to result in a lifetime of reduced oral function. With implants fused directly with the jawbone and anchoring replacement teeth, you can eat, talk, and smile in full health, strength, and confidence.
But receiving dental implants is only the first step to restoring your smile, and keeping it healthy for years, even decades. Sure, they’re placed in the jawbone, eliminating the need for nightly removal (as with dentures), and they’re often made of titanium, one of the strongest materials. But the rest is up to you—how well they function and how long they last, whether it’s less than or over the 25-year average.
Find out how to take care of your dental implants and prevent implant failure so that you can maximize their life-changing benefits.
The Importance of Dental Implant Maintenance
Dental implants allow you to replace missing teeth with natural-looking and equally strong artificial crowns. And just like your natural teeth, they require proper care to last. Without good oral hygiene and healthy lifestyle habits, dental implants can fail.
Why Dental Implants Fail
The reality is, that it’s easy to revert to poor hygiene and lifestyle habits since dental implants essentially provide a new lease on life. But even with their generally high success rate, implants can fail due to these common factors:
- Plaque build-up, leading to gum disease
- Poor oral hygiene
- Deficiencies in the jawbone
- Certain medications and medical conditions.
The Risk of Gum Disease
It’s important to remember that dental implants and the replacement crowns (teeth) they support can’t grow cavities since they’re made of artificial materials. However, it’s the gums that you need to pay attention to.
Did you know that the gum tissues surrounding dental implants are structured differently than that of natural teeth? There is actually more space between the gum tissue and implanted tooth. This gap can cause plaque to build up and harden, causing gum disease. So while you’re not at risk of severe cavities and tooth decay, it’s just as crucial to keep up with good oral hygiene.
Tips for Taking Care of Dental Implants
Did you recently receive dental implants? Get the best use out of your fully restored smile. Check out these tips from our periodontists for maintaining your dental implants and good oral health.
1. Brush properly, at least twice a day
Basic oral hygiene is your first line of defence against dental implant failure. Brush your teeth properly, at least twice a day, to remove food deposits, and prevent plaque build-up and gum disease. Make sure to brush every morning when you wake up to eliminate bacterial build-up overnight and before bed. Even better, brush after every meal to eliminate food debris right away.
2. But, brush with care
There’s a difference between brushing properly and over-brushing. Just because you’re brushing twice a day or after every meal doesn’t mean you’re doing it right. Proper brushing requires a soft-bristled toothbrush. You might not realize it, but with proper brushing strokes, soft bristles are just as effective at removing plaque without the risk of bleeding gums. You can also try an electric toothbrush for effective cleaning.
3. Floss regularly
The other half of good daily oral hygiene, you should also floss regularly. Just as you would floss in between natural teeth, you need to floss between replacement crowns and around the abutments (the device attaching the artificial tooth to the dental implant).
Use unwaxed tape or floss made specifically for dental implants. Alternatively, you can use a water flosser, known as an oral irrigator or water jet to remove food debris and plaque around the implant.
4. Eat and drink with caution
Dental implants may be incredibly strong and durable, allowing you to regain full oral function. But even as you eat and drink as you normally would, it’s still important to be cautious of what you’re eating and drinking—and how. Similarly, make a conscious effort to maintain healthy lifestyle habits.
Here are some food and drink to be mindful of:
- Hot drinks: Let your morning coffee, tea, or hot chocolate cool before you take a sip.
- Hard foods: Bite down carefully (and know when to stop) on foods that are hard, crunchy, or tend to get stuck between teeth. These include candy, popcorn, chips, and raw vegetables.
- Sticky foods: Avoid or limit consumption of gum, taffy, or gummies, as these can cause wear and tear on dental implants (and the rest of your natural teeth).
- Ice: Avoid chewing on ice chips—they’re hard and can cause damage to dental implants.
5. Observe your dental implants and visit your periodontist
The fact is, once your dental implants are placed, and crown restorations are complete, their success rests on you. A major part of dental implant maintenance and good oral health habits is paying attention to them. Monitor their function: Can you bite, chew, and talk as you normally would? Are the replacement teeth securely in place?
Talk to your periodontist right away if you experience any discomfort in the gum tissue and problems with biting and chewing. They can conduct a full check-up and take x-rays to detect any sign of implant failure and treat it right away.
And even if your dental implants feel and work fine, don’t miss out on regular visits to your periodontist. Aside from post-op check-ups, it’s important to schedule regular cleanings and exams to eliminate plaque build-up and ensure that your dental implants are working as they should.
Ask Our Periodontists About Dental Implant Maintenance
At Periodontal Associates, our team of highly qualified and experienced periodontists in Mississauga are dedicated to the success of your dental implant procedure. Our goal is to restore your full quality of life with this most advanced tooth replacement method, so you can eat, talk, and smile with full confidence.
When you get dental implants at our Mississauga clinic, you get more than the procedure itself. Our approach to dental implant procedures is holistic: we’re with you at every step of the process, from initial consultation to long-term oral health. From a state-of-the-art procedure to post-op check-ups and regular periodontal treatment, we’re here to ensure the success of your dental implants.
Did you recently receive dental implants in Mississauga? Let’s talk more about maintaining dental implants and long-term oral health. Ask our periodontists for tips on keeping dental implants healthy.