Each year, more than 3 million patients get implants. Compared to alternative replacement treatments such as dentures and bridges, dental implants are preferred to many as they offer the most natural results. For example, implants restore your missing tooth’s function, allowing you to enjoy your favorite food again.
Implants also enhance your facial appearance by maintaining your facial muscles; this prevents thinning lips, facial sagging, and premature aging. Also, implants preserve the jawbone and prevent teeth misalignments. Besides replacing missing teeth, implants can support a dental bridge or denture for more stability.
Typically, implants feature titanium posts installed into the underlying jawbone of the missing tooth. Since the procedure requires surgical intervention, recovery takes time. To qualify for dental implants, a patient needs to have healthy gums and a sufficient amount of jawbone. Good oral hygiene habits are also essential to facilitate faster healing and prevent any infection.
If well installed and cared for, traditional dental implants can serve you for a lifetime. To ensure the longevity of your implant, you must make an effort to keep it clean, bright, and free of plaque and bacteria. Poor dental hygiene can cause infection in the tissues surrounding the implants, leading to failure.
Damaging habits such as excessive alcohol use and smoking can inhibit or slow down the healing process and cause implant failure. For these reasons, you must be motivated and ready to care for your implants correctly. To care for your implants, utilize these tips:
Immediately after the surgery, it’s normal to experience pain, swelling, sensitivity, and bleeding. Your oral surgeon will prescribe medication to manage these effects.
Good at-home dental hygiene is crucial to prevent plaque and bacteria buildup in the mouth. Since an implant looks and functions like your natural tooth, you should brush twice and floss once daily. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and the correct toothpaste; this helps get rid of any debris, plaque, or bacteria on or around the implant, preventing gum diseases and cavities on the nearby teeth. Since the implant is artificial, it can’t get cavities, but the teeth around it can.
Dental implants take about 3 – 6 months to heal. Smoking or excessive alcohol use during this time can be very detrimental. Alcohol and tobacco products slow down the healing process and can even lead to implant failure. As well, avoiding alcohol and tobacco products is good for your overall well-being.
Before an implant bonds with the underlying bone completely, you should be careful what you eat or drink. For instance, eating hard or chewy food can damage your implants. Sticky food can get stuck around the implant, leading to bacteria buildup and possibly infection and implant loss. If you want to keep your implants healthy, avoid foods such as ice, caramel, carrots, apples, potato chips, crusty bread, steak, and hard candy.
Regular dental cleanings and checkups from your dental hygienist will keep your implant healthy and free of bacteria. Regular exams will also help your dentist to monitor the status of the implant.
Like your natural teeth, dental implants are not indestructible. Damaging habits such as nail-biting, using your teeth to open things, or chewing pens can easily damage your implant. Teeth clenching and grinding isn’t great for your implant either. If you have bruxism, make sure to wear a night guard when sleeping.
As you’ve seen above, caring for dental implants is pretty much straightforward. If you have further inquiries about dental implants treatments and care, book your appointment with Beverly Dental Group today.