Dental Implants Maintenance: Ways to Keep Your Dental Implant Healthy

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Dental implants are tiny metal posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone to act as replacements for lost natural tooth roots due to tooth loss. They are a long-lasting treatment for missing teeth and can help restore your smile’s function and aesthetic. But you play a significant role in keeping them healthy and extending their lifespan.


This article will provide you with some tips on how to do this.

How Can You Care for Your Dental Implant?

The following are some common dental implant aftercare instructions —from the healing period until after their placement:

  • Keep up with your good oral hygiene practice.
    Oral hygiene is a primary factor in keeping your implants healthy. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush and regular flossing once on a daily basis using quality dental floss. It is essential to remove any plaque and bacteria that can build up around the implant so that your gum tissue remains healthy. When cleaning, pay special attention to the sides of the implant using an end-tufted brush or an interdental brush (proxy brush). Also, use these tools to clean areas where a conventional toothbrush might not reach. You can also use other oral hygiene aids, such as special oral irrigators, water flossers, interproximal brushes, and soft manual toothbrushes, to help remove food particles.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
    A diet rich in nutrients is important for overall health, including oral health. Be sure to Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid hard and sticky foods, as they can damage your dental implants. Keep in mind that a high-sugar and starch diet can result in bacterial biofilm formation that can cause gum disease, which can lead to implant failure. 
  • Consider quitting smoking.
    There’s enough scientific evidence that smoking can cause a number of problems, including an increased risk for peri-implant diseases, including peri-implant mucositis. If you can’t quit, reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke per day. However, it’s worth noting that the nicotine and tar in tobacco products can stain your natural teeth over time. Rinsing with water immediately after smoking helps remove some of the residues.
  • Maintain regular visits to your dentist.
    See your dentist at least every six months for professional dental cleanings and checkups. If another dentist performed your implant procedure, let the dentist who does your regular cleaning and checkup know you have implants so they can take proper care of them during your appointment.
  • Take care of your overall health.
    Your oral health is closely linked to your overall health. So, you should take care of yourself by exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and managing any underlying medical conditions. Keep in mind that certain health conditions, like uncontrolled diabetes, can increase your risk for implant failure.
  • Avoid using your teeth as tools.
    Don’t use your teeth to open packages, bite your nails, or chew on ice. Doing so can damage your implant, as well as your natural teeth.
  • Wear a night guard if you have bruxism.
    Bruxism is a condition that causes you to grind or clench your teeth. It can damage your implant, as well as your natural teeth. Wearing a night guard as a part of your daily routine can help protect your teeth from the damaging effects of bruxism.
  • Clean your removable dentures daily.
    If you have removable dentures as replacement teeth, you need to take them out and clean them daily. Do this by soaking them in a mild antibacterial solution. In addition, gently brush the surfaces of the denture to remove any plaque and food debris. Avoid using harsh chemicals or scrubbing too hard, as this can damage the denture.

What Complications Can Occur During Dental Implant Recovery?

Your recovery period starts as soon as the implant placement surgery is finished. During this time, it’s essential to follow your dentist’s instructions carefully to promote healing and avoid implant complications. These include:

  • Infection around the implant
    Also called peri-implantitis, this is a condition wherein the tissues around the implant (peri-implant tissues) become inflamed. It can happen a few days after the surgery or even years due to poor oral hygiene that can cause bacterial plaque, possible resulting in infection. It can also cause bone loss around the implant, increasing the risk of failure. Other risk factors include diabetes, smoking, periodontal diseases, bruxism or allergic reaction from the implants. Signs of infection include red, swollen, tender gums, pus drainage, bad breath, and fever.
  • Nerve damage
    This rare complication can occur if the implant is placed too close to a nerve in your jaw. Symptoms are numbness, tingling, or pain in your lip, gums, chin, or teeth.
  • Sinus problems
    If the implant is placed too close to your sinuses, you may experience congestion, runny nose, and difficulty breathing through your nose. Sometimes, surgery may be required to correct this problem.
  • Allergic reaction to the materials used in the implant

    This is rare but can occur if you’re allergic to titanium or other metals used in dental implants. Common signs include redness, inflamed, and swollen gums at the site of the implant.

  • Damage to the surrounding teeth
    If the implant is placed so close to a neighbouring tooth, it can damage the tooth. Be sure to See your dentist regularly so they can check the placement of your implants and make sure confirm they’re not damaging any of your other teeth.
  • Osseointegration failure
    It occurs when the implant doesn’t fuse properly with the bone in your jaw. It’s more common in smokers and people with diabetes or other medical conditions that affect healing. In addition, a study shows that the implant surface roughness affects the success of osseointegration. Implants with a rougher surface are more likely to fail than those with a smooth surface.
  • Gum soft tissue recession
    Poor oral hygiene, bruxism, and smoking can all contribute to gum recession. Gum recession is a condition wherein the gum tissue around the implant begins to recede or pull away from the implant. This can cause the implant to become exposed and increase your risk for infection.

How Often Should You Visit Your Dentist After Surgery?

Right after your implant surgery, your dentist may require frequent visits to check that the implant is healing properly. After your initial healing process, you should see your dentist at least twice a year for professional maintenance. This also allows them to assess your implant’s placement and verify that it’s not causing any damage to your other teeth.

Final Thoughts

Dental implants are tiny, screw-like posts, usually made of titanium or zirconia, that your dentist or orthodontist places on your jaw bone through surgery. They act as strong tooth roots for the artificial teeth that replace your missing natural teeth. However, you need to take certain measures, including following good oral hygiene instructions from your dentist to maintain implant life, including peri-implant health, to prevent infection that can result in failure. Professional cleanings and checkups every six months also help prevent this from occurring.

Call Ellen Stirling Dental to book a consultation if you’re considering this dental treatment.

Our clinic has a team of dental practitioners who have been performing dental implants for many years. During your initial appointment, one of the dentists will check your oral health to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for this invasive procedure. This includes taking x-rays and impressions of your teeth. They also sit down with you to discuss the procedure, its benefits, risks, and expectations.

Frequently Asked Questions

On average, dental implants last up to 10 to 15 years. With proper dental implant care, their lifespan can reach 25 years or more.

This depends on your location, dentist, how many implants you need, additional procedures necessary (such as bone graft or sinus lift), etc. But generally, a single implant can cost up to \$3,000 to \$5,500. According to the 2020 Australian national dental fee survey, dental implants can cost up to ,514 per single tooth implant. Ask your dentist during your initial consultation about a more accurate estimate.

There are a number of advantages of dental implants over other tooth replacement options like dental bridges. These include looking and feeling like your natural teeth, they are long-lasting, and unlike dentures, they won’t slip or move around in your mouth. They also prevent additional bone loss because they stimulate the jawbone while you bite and chew. In addition, dental implant maintenance doesn’t require special cleaning routines like dentures.

In general, teeth implants are safe, but as with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated. It is important to choose a highly qualified and experienced oral surgeon for your dental implant procedure to minimise these risks.

Dr. Rachit Shah

Author

Dr. Rachit Shah

Dr. Rachit Shah has a caring and holistic approach to your healthcare. He brings a gentle and modern approach to dentistry; one aimed to create a painless and anxiety-free experience whilst using conservative methods to create long-lasting and highly aesthetic smiles.

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