If you've been struggling with damaged or missing teeth, dental implants can completely transform your life. Having implants installed, however, does mean that you'll need to put in a little extra effort to keep your mouth in good health.
Your natural teeth are more than just a tough outer surface for chewing. They actually contain blood vessels and ligaments, which feed the tooth important nutrients and connect it to your immune system. But since implants don't have these blood vessels, they don't have access to disease-fighting white blood cells and are at an increased risk of infection. Infections can lead to dental implant failure and can even spread to other parts of your mouth – like the gums, jawbone, and other teeth.
For the best dental implant care, try out some of the following tips. They'll help to keep your new smile as beautiful as possible for years to come.
Remember to Brush (and Floss) Every Day
Dentists hope that brushing and flossing is something you've already been doing. But proper oral care is even more critical than ever once you've received dental implants.
Since the area immediately around your implants is more susceptible to infection, it's extra important to get all that plaque and bacteria off your teeth and gums. You may also need to make slight adjustments to your brushing methods, depending on the type of implant you've received. If you'd like to go over dental implant brushing and flossing techniques, just ask: we'd be happy to help.
Rinse Out Those Hard-To-Reach Areas
Excellent brushing habits are important for implant care, but there's another tool that many find helpful for removing plaque and loose bits of food. Oral irrigators are small hand-held devices that direct a low-pressure water stream through a narrow tube. You've probably seen them in dental offices before, but there are less-expensive consumer versions as well.
Research suggests that regular oral irrigation helps to reduce plaque and prevent inflammation around the implant site. They can use either water, or a microbial rinse that destroys nasty bacteria more effectively. Of course, every situation is different, so be sure to speak with your dentist to determine whether an oral irrigator would be a good investment toward your implant care.
Come In For Regular Checkups
Practicing good oral hygiene at home is quite important if you want to keep your implants healthy for years to come. That said, it's not a replacement for in-office appointments.
Being so closely integrated with gum and bone tissues, it's quite hard to give your implants the kind of advanced cleaning that they require with just the tools you have at home. When you visit a dental office for regular post-implant checkups, dental hygienists can use specialized instruments to carefully scrape, clean, and check the condition of your implants. It also gives us an opportunity to look for any early signs of infection, and – if necessary – to treat them before they become a real problem.
With a little preventative care, your dental implants should last a lifetime. So be sure to keep them clean and healthy – your new smile is worth it. For more information, contact a cosmetic dentist in your area.