Long Term Care for Dental Implants
It is vital to care for your dental implants to make them last a long time. A major advantage of dental implants is that they can be taken care of just like your natural teeth by brushing and flossing regularly.
When oral hygiene is neglected, a film of plaque may develop over your teeth. This soon hardens to become a breeding ground for bacteria. When bacteria reach the gums near the implant, infection can travel to the bone quicker than an infection near an original tooth.
Here are some tips to take care of your dental implants:
Follow Instructions for Recovery
Immediate aftercare may involve your dentist placing a gauze pad at the implant area and asking you to bite down tightly for an hour. When you go home, you must follow the guidelines specified by your dentist for quick healing.
After 24 hours, you may start cleaning the affected area similar to the way you clean the rest of your teeth. You can choose to either use a manual or an automatic soft-bristled toothbrush. Just make sure you brush at an angle to clean near the implant.
A few days later, you may start using other tools as well, such as Waterpik, end-tuft brushes, and sulca brushes. You can soon begin flossing around the exposed section of the implant. In case you have multi-unit implants, it is recommended that you use specialized floss.
Schedule Follow-Up Appointments
A follow-up visit to your dentist is important so that they can identify if any unusual problems have developed. In case of any issue, early detection will ensure that your implant is comfortable and functioning.
You will be required to visit your dentist frequently during the first few months following implant surgery. Osseointegration, the process of the implant bonding with the bone, may take many months and therefore needs to be tracked by the dentist.
Dentists also use special instruments to clean areas near the dental implant which you cannot reach yourself. Once the dentist is sure that the implant is properly fused with the bone, you can revert to bi-annual appointments.
Maintain Oral Hygiene
Following good oral hygiene practices is essential to maintain the overall strength of dental implants. When 24 hours pass after surgery, you can begin daily rinsing. Take some lukewarm water and add a pinch of salt to it. Rinse your mouth with the solution up to 5 times a day, especially after meals.
Implants are artificial teeth, but they can be maintained just like natural teeth. Make sure you brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day. If you have more than one dental implant, you may need some special cleaning tools, such as implant-specific floss, to remove food particles lodged between them.
In case of bad oral hygiene, bacteria accumulation may cause inflammation. If this is not rectified in time, there is risk of bone loss near the implant. This may result in the implant losing anchorage in the bone, increasing its chances of falling out.
The site of an implant typically heals easily without causing much discomfort. Dentists let the gums recover and allow ample time for the implant to fuse with the jawbone before securing replacement teeth atop them.
The healing process may last from 6 weeks to 6 months. The stitches are either removed manually or dissolve on their own after a week or two. Avoid smoking or consuming other tobacco products as they can interrupt healing. Nicotine tends to tighten the blood vessels and decrease the flow of blood to the soft tissues, which can adversely affect the immune response.
According to patient reports, implants are not as painful as tooth extraction or root canal treatment. Make sure you maintain good oral hygiene to make your implant last long. If you are experiencing a toothache, or have a tooth or two missing, schedule an appointment with us at Center for Advanced Periodontics and Implant Dentistry by calling us at 508-441-4154today.