Many experts agree that dental implants are the single best way to replace missing teeth. One of the many reasons behind this prevailing opinion is because implants last for so long — if they’re well cared for, they could last for a lifetime. But exactly how should you care for your implants in order to get the most out of them? Here are a few easy tips to keep your artificial teeth looking and feeling good for decades to come.
Practice Excellent Oral Hygiene
Oral hygiene is perhaps the biggest key to maintaining your dental implants. Without a good mouth-cleaning routine, bacteria may sneak into the area around your implants, leading to gum disease and/or peri-implantitis (inflammation of the gums that causes the loss of bone density around implants). If these conditions progress far enough, you could end up losing your restored teeth.
Fortunately, keeping bacteria at bay is fairly simple. You do so in much the same way that you would stop your natural teeth from developing cavities. Therefore, you should:
- Brush twice a day. Use a low-abrasive paste and gentle, short strokes. This will prevent tartar buildup and remove nasty, problem-causing microscopic bad guys.
- Floss at least once a day. Floss can reach the places that your toothbrush doesn’t — namely, the tight spaces around your implants’ abutments (the little pieces that attach your artificial teeth to the titanium posts that support them).
- Use an anti-microbial mouth rinse. This could vanquish any lingering bacteria that your toothbrush and floss missed.
Avoid Harmful Habits
Smoking is one of the worst things you could do to your implants. This habit increases the chances of infection, slows down healing time after implant surgery, and decreases the chance that your implants will bond properly with your body. Even if the bonding process does succeed, smoking is still harmful for your smile because it makes it more difficult to maintain good oral hygiene.
Other habits that can negatively affect your implants include chewing on ice, which might break the your artificial teeth; grinding your teeth, which can weaken your jaw; and frequently indulging in sugary or acidic foods, which contributes to plaque and tartar buildup in the mouth.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
When you go to your implant dentist for checkups, they will clean your teeth and look for any signs that your implants aren’t doing as well as they should. The process may include an X-ray, which will give your dentist a look at how the implants are faring beneath the gum line. If there are any issues, it might be possible to stop them or reverse them before they endanger the long-term viability of your smile.
Do you want a sturdy, natural-looking smile that lasts a lifetime? Then please take good care of your dental implants.
About Our Practice
Drs. Tim Stirneman and Michelle Zmick are your implant experts in Lake in the Hills, IL. If you’re thinking about getting your smile restored, or you already have implants and it’s time for a checkup, please feel free to contact our office at 833-463-9968.