About 3 million people currently have dental implants. That number is only expected to grow by another half a million a year, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. There’s a good reason why implants are exploding in popularity – they can last a long time and are very easy to care for. But how exactly do you take care of them? To find out, read this easy guide to dental implant maintenance.
Brush Twice a Day
Luckily, brushing your dental implant is very similar to brushing one of your natural teeth. Make sure to use a gentle technique and a brush with soft bristles to avoid irritating your gums and wearing down any of your remaining teeth.
Use a Non-Whitening Toothpaste
Not only do whitening toothpastes not work on dental implant restorations like crowns or bridges, but they can be abrasive. Stick to a regular toothpaste that contains fluoride, since fluoride strengthens the teeth you have left, decreasing your likelihood of developing decay in those teeth.
Floss At Least Once a Day
Flossing is the one part of your oral hygiene routine that is slightly different with dental implants. If you have a single implant that’s restored with a crown, be sure to floss around the crown. For implant-retained bridges, thread the floss underneath the pontics, which are the crowns in between your implants. Flossing every day prevents plaque from building up along your gumline. Accumulated plaque increases your risk of gum disease, which can compromise the success of your implant.
Using tobacco, whether you smoke or chew it, can cause your body to reject the implant, especially if it has only been a few months since placement. This is because tobacco slows down the healing processes in the mouth. Your jawbone will have a hard time fusing to the implant, which can lead to implant failure. It’s strongly recommended that you quit smoking before getting a dental implant.
See Your Dentist Regularly
After you get your implant placed, your dentist will let you know how often you need to come in to make sure your implant is healing nicely. After that, make sure to attend your regular six-month checkups and cleanings. That way, if there’s a problem with your implant, your dentist can detect and treat it before it leads to implant failure.
Fortunately, dental implant maintenance is almost as easy as taking care of your natural teeth. Follow the steps listed above and your implant should last a lifetime.
About the Author
Dr. Parnam Mohanna has more than 30 years’ worth of experience in the dental field. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Oklahoma. He has achieved a Diplomate and Fellowship with the International Congress of Oral Implantologists as well as a Fellowship with the Misch International Implant Institute. These accomplishments demonstrate Dr. Mohanna’s skills and passion for replacing missing teeth with dental implants. To learn more about dental implant maintenance, you can visit his website.