The Importance of Dental Implant Maintenance
While it is true that dental implants are impervious to decay, they are still susceptible to bacteria, gum disease, and other oral health issues. Therefore, maintaining a regular hygiene regimen is just as important once your dental implants have been placed. If proper brushing and flossing is not performed on a routine basis, patients may require extensive and costly restorative treatments to preserve their smile.
Proper oral hygiene is absolutely essential for the long-term success of your dental implants.
Every day, plaque accumulates around the gum line. If these plaque deposits are not removed, bacteria will begin to irritate the gum tissue. Eventually, the infection caused by these bacteria will seep into the gums and erode the supporting jawbone, creating pockets around the implant posts. As a result, the gums may recede away from the implants, and the posts may loosen. In severe cases, the implants may fall out.
Things to Avoid
Once your dental implants have healed, they will serve as fully-functional teeth, just like your original teeth. However, there are certain habits that can seriously hinder the long-term success of your implants. For example, patients should avoid using their implants as tools, such as opening packages. Chewing on non-food items, such as pens, pencils, or fingernails, can place unnecessary stress on your implants and restorations, leading to significant issues in the future.
In addition, patients should avoid smoking. Tobacco products can have negative consequences on your recovery and oral health, causing dry mouth, periodontal disease, and bone loss around your implants. In fact, we recommend that individuals considering teeth replacement with dental implants stop smoking altogether.
How to Care for Your Dental Implants
Proper oral hygiene is absolutely essential for the long-term success of your dental implants. To ensure optimal health, patients should attend routine dental cleanings with the hygienist. While many individuals can benefit from visits every six months, some may require more frequent appointments, especially those who are predisposed to gum disease.
While professional cleanings are crucial, it is also important to properly care for your implants at home between visits. Patients should brush at least twice a day, preferably after every meal. This helps remove plaque and harmful substances from the surfaces of the teeth. Patients should use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
Flossing is just as important as brushing, whether you are cleaning natural teeth or dental implants. To properly floss an implant, wrap the floss around both sides, cross one side over the other, and clean the implant in a shoe-shine motion. During a visit at our practice, we can help you design an oral hygiene regimen to fit your specific needs.
Learn More about Dental Implant Maintenance
Dental implants are an investment. Knowing how to care for them can help you enjoy long-term success and optimal oral health. To schedule a consultation at our Kansas City, MO-area practice, contact us online or call (816) 229-1433.