If you don’t care for your new dental implant, it could break or chip. Plus, dental implants can attract plaque just like regular teeth can.
Follow these steps to keep you dental implant in good condition throughout the years.
Brush Twice Daily
You should brush on and around your dental implants just like you would brush your natural teeth. If you forego brushing, plaque can build up and cause gum disease and other dental health problems.
Studies show that brushing your implants twice a day can reduce plaque bacteria. Plus, it can also reduce bleeding around implant sites. Studies also show that the type of toothbrush you use doesn’t matter, as long as you’re consistently brushing around the implant site.
Floss Once Daily
You shouldn’t give up your daily flossing routine because you have implants. Or if you don’t have a daily flossing routine, now is a good time to start.
Flossing around an implant can be a bit trickier than flossing around teeth. It’s best to find an implant-specific floss that’s designed to protect the surrounding gums and tissue.
To make sure you remove plaque and debris in the deep spaces next to your implant, use this flossing method:
- Wrap the floss around the back of your tooth. Hold an end of the floss in each hand.
- Cross the two sides of the floss in front of the tooth and switch hands.
- Move the floss into the crevice like you’re shining your shoes.
Using a water flosser might help support flossing. Water flossers spray water in the hard-to-reach areas around your implant to rinse debris. However, water flossers cannot substitute for flossing because they might not remove plaque.
See Your Dentist
Even if you don’t have any of your natural teeth left, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to see a dentist. In fact, regular dentist appointments are crucial to maintaining the health of your implants, teeth, and gums.
Your mouth can still harbor plaque and bacteria, and dental hygienists need to clean it just as they would when you have natural teeth. Dental hygienists have special instruments that they use to clean around the implant and the artificial tooth. Rather than metal instruments, they use plastic and resin instruments so they don’t scratch the implant.
It’s also important for your dentist to monitor the health of the implant and the surrounding gums and teeth. He or she can catch any problems before they progress and treat them to keep your mouth healthy.
Watch for Signs of Peri-Implant Disease
Peri-implant disease can be dangerous to your implant and the surrounding tissue. One kind of peri-implant disease, peri-implant mucositis, involves inflamed tissues around the dental implant. Another form, peri-implantitis, involves inflamed gums, too—and it also involves the loss of bone. In fact, your implant can start to detach from your bone.
Signs of peri-implant disease include inflamed gums around your implant and the implant becoming exposed. If you notice these signs, see your dentist right away. He or she will recommend the best treatment.
One effective at-home treatment is known as antimicrobial therapy. You dip an interdental brush in an antimicrobial rinse recommended by your dentist. Then, you apply that rinse to the affected area twice a day for several weeks.
Protect Your Implants from Impact
Implants and prosthetic teeth can crack or break just like your natural teeth can. Thus, you should avoid habits that damage teeth and implants such as:
- Chewing ice
- Cracking nuts with teeth
- Opening packages with teeth
If you participate in contact sports, protect your implants by wearing a mouth guard. You should also wear a mouth guard at night if you frequently grind or clench your teeth.
Avoid Certain Foods and Drinks
The prosthetic tooth attached to your implant can stain just like your regular teeth can. To maintain a white smile, cut back on foods and drinks that stain such as:
- Red wine
Plus, sticking to nutritious foods and drinks can help you prevent dental problems like peri-implant disease. Foods high in sugar and starch can attract bacteria, which leave plaque behind. Foods to avoid include:
- White bread
- Potato chips
- French fries
Fruits and vegetables can protect your dental health because they help saliva flow. Saliva reduces the effects of the harmful substances that attack your mouth.
Follow these steps to protect your implants and ensure that they will last for many years to come.
For more information about preserving and maintaining your implants, call Silverado Family Dental for an appointment. We serve patients near Anthem and Green Valley.