When people lose one or more teeth, they may have several options to choose from in the form of artificial replacements. One of the most popular choices is dental implants. Because implants look and function just like natural teeth, they can serve as truly permanent substitutes.
That said, you still need to be vigilant about protecting them. Dental implants are known for their durability. Still, like any artificial teeth, they’re much more likely to stay in good condition if you understand what factors could potentially damage them.
That’s why it’s a good idea to discuss this topic with your oral surgeon as you prepare to receive dental implants. He or she will let you know how to maintain them effectively.
It also helps to keep certain essential points in mind. The following is by no means an exhaustive list. However, these tips will help you keep your dental implants in good shape for years to come.
Pay Attention to What You Eat
Biting into hard foods (or using your teeth to open tough bags) puts a lot of pressure on natural teeth. This can cause damage over time.
Dental implants are no different. When a food is crunchy or may contain bones, bite into it cautiously at first. This will help ensure you’re not exerting too much pressure on your implant.
Your food should “give” under the pressure of your bite relatively easily. Being mindful of what you’re eating will help you preserve both your artificial teeth and your real teeth.
Use the Right Dental Products
It is important to care for dental implants the same way you would your natural teeth. That means brushing and flossing every day. Additionally, it’s best to use particular types of dental products. Some products may be more effective than others, and some products can even damage dental implants.
For the best results, use non-abrasive toothpaste and unwaxed floss. You might even consider getting a water flosser instead of using traditional flossing products. Your oral surgeon or dentist may also recommend additional products, like interdental brushes and/or picks, to more thoroughly clean your implant and teeth.
Make sure your toothbrush has soft bristles. Unless your oral surgeon says otherwise, avoid using a vibrating toothbrush. The vibrations can potentially loosen the screws inside the implant.
The bacteria in your mouth won’t actually cause an implant to decay. However, bacteria can eat away at the gum tissue supporting your implant. Keeping your teeth and mouth as clean as possible will help prevent this.
Be Careful Playing Sports
If you play sports, always wear a mouthguard while doing so. This is simply an effective way to protect all your teeth. Sudden blows to the face can knock both teeth and implants out. A mouthguard will help to prevent this.
Schedule Regular Dental Visits
Staying on top of your oral hygiene will help you keep your dental implants in good condition. However, regular dentist appointments remain an important part of your dental care routine.
Everyone should go to the dentist at least once every six months. Those who have recently had dental implants should be particularly proactive about scheduling visits. Individuals with dental implants should have deep cleaning treatments on a regular basis.
Dentists also monitor the condition of your dental implants. You’re much more likely to avoid long-term problems if minor issues are identified by a professional sooner rather than later. Dentists can also provide advice about maintaining dental implants effectively on your own.
These tips can help you keep your dental implants in the best possible shape for years to come. However, you may still have questions about proper upkeep. Always ask your oral surgeon when you aren’t sure you fully understand how to protect your dental implants from damage.
Your oral surgeon’s role doesn’t end after he or she has installed your new artificial teeth. Dental implant care is a joint effort between you and your oral surgeon. When you are willing to contact him or her with any questions you have, you’re much less likely to experience dental implant failure.