Regular maintenance is necessary for dental implants, but it doesn’t have to be a hassle. By following these crucial steps, you can help the implants look new for many years to come.
When done correctly, dental implants are a great investment for those looking to get something as close as possible to permanent, real teeth. In recent years, they have become a popular alternative with people of all ages as a way to get a great smile and a new chance at life, but what many don’t realize is the time, care, and patience required to maintain the new teeth. The maintenance doesn’t have to be difficult but before you rush into your dental office for the procedure, here are some important tips to learn about to keep your toothy investment in the best shape possible.
Dental Implant Pain & Aftercare
Unfortunately, pain is inevitable after an implants procedure so any discomfort or swelling over the next 24-hour period shouldn’t be alarming. Everyone’s pain level is different so the first real step we always advise our patients is to rest with their ice packs, keep their heads elevated, and to not move around excessively. By limiting the blood flow to the affected area, you’ll be able to control the bleeding better and won’t feel the pounding soreness as severely.
Besides taking the medications provided, you will also want to consume only soft foods and liquid for the first 24 hours. Eating or drinking any irritating or abrasive foods can cause damage to the new implants and to the wounded tissue surrounding the new teeth. Caution is key here because we don’t want you to have to come back and spend time fixing an avoidable problem instead of enjoying your smile.
Keep Up with Cleaning Appointments
Getting dental implants doesn’t mean that you can start getting lazy with your check-ups. In fact, your dental appointments are more important than ever after your implant procedure to ensure that the teeth and surrounding tissue are healing properly and are healthy after being cared for by you. Visiting the dentist a minimum of two times per year is recommended because if there is a problem, we want to be able to catch it early on.
By keeping up with your visits, you’re decreasing your chances of infection, any allergic reactions, insufficient bone support, and even micro-movements within an individual tooth. These complications can be costly if ignored – on top of the dental implants cost themselves. If spotted soon enough, we can take away the possibility of future issues, but this can only happen with routine appointments.
Stick to Your Hygienic Routine
More often than not, dental hygienic routines are difficult for people to stick to – even if they won’t admit it. They can become tedious and then, when implants are added onto it, people can become discouraged because they have to get used to a whole new set of products and methods that weren’t part of their original routines.
With dental implants, an effective home care regimen only requires you to brush at least twice a day, floss daily, and to use an oral irrigator that will get rid of the extra material in the hard-to-reach places that your toothbrush missed. This is especially important after any meals or snacks because plaque accumulation happens quickly (and bacteria loves a mouth that isn’t completely healed).
By committing to dental implants, you’re also committing to the daily performance of your regimen that will allow you to save a large amount of money in the long run by helping you avoid some problems that could have been fixed with better attention. Some of the earliest signs we’ve seen of insufficient home care is bleeding (mucositis), and then bone loss (peri-implantitis) if the issue continues to become severe, which will result in the eventual removal of the implants.
Buy the Correct Aids
With the wide variety of toothcare aids out there on the market, it seems as if people have endless options to take care of their implants, but many products can actually do more harm than good. Ultimately, what we have found in many of our patients is that they had to throw out most of the products they were using daily because they just weren’t made to properly maintain their new teeth.
Stain-removing toothpastes and others that contain baking soda, sodium fluoride, and stannous fluoride are terrible for implants as they all are considered corrosive because their ingredients break down implants and cause them to become weaker and not as polished over time. The alcohol in mouthwash is also just as harmful as the stain removers as it prevents the mouth from being able to fight against germs and infections itself by causing dry mouth.
Using a soft-bristled toothbrush – manual or electric – will also still give the effective cleaning needed. Anything harder can cause scratches on the implants, which in turn means that bacteria has a better chance of entering the tooth, down into your gums and into the bloodstream. If you ever are unsure about a certain product, always ask your dentist first.
Eat the Right Foods
Eating can still be enjoyable, even with new dental implants but the choices you make can affect how long the teeth last and the amount of damage that happens within the rest of the mouth. We see patients come in daily to our office because they had no idea why their new implant cracked or why they are getting sudden tooth pains. The first question we always ask is, “What have you been eating?”
From there, we usually get the same answers: candy, chips, steak, vegetables. The major issue with these is that once they start damaging the implants, a person’s overall oral health is at risk. Remember: all of these can be enjoyed in moderation but for the dental implants to last a lifetime, you’ll have to make the choice to avoid the foods that are even harmful to real teeth.