Dental implants are a reliable tooth replacement treatment, renowned for their longevity. The process involves inserting a screw-shaped dental implant into the maxilla or mandible jawbones before placing a crown over it to give the implant the appearance of a natural tooth.
Dental implants can replace single, multiple, or all teeth. They can also be fitted to make removable dentures more comfortable. While implants are typically durable and long-lasting, they don’t eliminate the need for proper dental care. Oral hygiene and maintenance are needed to preserve dental implants, giving them a longer lifespan.
Although there are always exceptions, taking appropriate dental care can prevent the development of diseases, which can lead to discomfort and hefty dental bills.
Importance of Dental Implants Care
Care and maintenance are imperative in keeping dental implants looking and functioning well. They are also critical in reducing the risk of dental implant-related diseases such as peri-implantitis. If left untreated, such diseases can cause irreversible damage.
Peri-implantitis starts as peri-implant mucositis. It is similar to gingivitis in that it causes inflammation to the soft tissues in the gums. The signs of peri-implant diseases are swollen gums, bleeding, redness on the tissue next to the implant, and pus secretion from the implant site.
Poor dental hygiene is the primary cause of peri-implant mucositis. Food deposits gather between the teeth and gums, allowing bacteria to develop. Regular and correct brushing and flossing can help prevent this.
Smoking and other forms of tobacco use impede dental implants from healing. It reduces blood flow and contributes to the development of harmful tartar and bacteria.
If left untreated, peri-implantitis is likely to emerge. This disease affects the soft tissue and damages the bone that holds the dental implant in place, causing the bone to deteriorate. For severe cases, this disease often requires surgery to treat.
Proper dental care can prevent bacteria and infection, lowering the risk of serious gum disease.
How to Brush Your Teeth With Dental Implants?
The most critical form of dental implants care is oral hygiene.
While maintaining implants is similar to looking after your regular teeth, there are some useful tips to maintain their condition for as long as possible.
- Use a nylon or soft-bristled toothbrush because stiff bristles can scratch implants. A nylon or soft-bristled toothbrush is less likely to damage your gums, and it is just as effective at removing plaque.
- Use crown and bridge floss, which is specially designed for dental implants care. It’s best to use this floss directly after brushing your teeth, as you can distribute the residual fluoride around each dental implant, reducing bacteria development.
- Brush with a low abrasive toothpaste. Most toothpaste contains abrasive materials such as calcium carbonate, aluminium or calcium phosphates, and aluminium hydroxide. These remove the plaque and tartar before fluoride rebuilds the external layers, making them stronger. Implants don’t need this level of abrasion because it can cause scratches. Opt for low abrasion toothpaste to protect your implants for longer.
Dental Implants Care Tips
Careful maintenance following a dental implant procedure is essential immediately after your procedure and for long-term care.
Dental implants care tips immediately after surgery
For several days after the procedure, it’s normal for the patient to experience discomfort. Proper care is crucial to ensure that the implant site heals correctly. Some immediate aftercare tips include:
- Control bleeding by biting gently on gauze every 6-10 hours. Avoid vigorous activity and keep upright to prevent accidental bleeding. Using a straw or slurping forcefully can stop blood clots from forming, slowing the healing process.
- If your dentist recommends it, take the prescribed medication. Always finish a full cycle of antibiotics.
- Reduce facial swelling in the days following surgery by placing an ice pack intermittently on your face. Staying hydrated and keeping your head elevated also minimises inflammation.
- Smoking and drinking alcohol immediately after a dental implant procedure can cause serious infections. Abstinence from alcohol is recommended for around one week following surgery. Smoking, in general, negatively affects oral health, so it is not recommended after surgery. However, after 3 to 6 months, it is less likely to cause a severe infection.
It takes around 6-8 months for your mouth to fully recover following a dental implant procedure. The most important factors in maintaining oral health and strong implants are diet, oral hygiene, and professional dental care.
Avoid eating chewy and hard foods like nuts, seeds, dried fruits, corn on the cob, jerky, tough meats, caramel, and candy. Healthy foods and drinks also promote healthier overall oral tissue.
Excellent oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing twice per day, is key in keeping implants in top condition.
Above all else, people with implants should visit a dentist for checkups and professional cleaning. Dentists use a scaler to remove plaque and tartar from the gums and teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach. They can also floss your teeth comprehensively, giving you a much more hygienic mouth.
If they detect gum disease, dentists can perform other procedures such as pocket reduction surgery, soft tissue grafts, and tissue regeneration. This can help prevent the implant from failing.
Opt for High-Quality Dental Care
If you’re interested in having a dental implant procedure, Dentistry On Solent is led by ADA-accredited dental professional, Dr Sejal Rai. We use the latest technology and equipment to deliver efficient and comfortable dental solutions. All our work comes with a high level of care, and we treat patients with dignity and respect.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.