Maintaining Your Dental Implants – Dental Implant Care For Long-Term Success

Oct 05, 2023
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Successful dental implantation isn’t the end of the journey. Instead, it’s more important than ever to understand dental implant care to aid their longevity. Carry on reading to learn more about dental implant maintenance.

Dental implants are a permanent method of replacing missing teeth and restoring a beautiful smile. However, the journey doesn’t end with a successful implantation procedure. In fact, post-dental implant care is just as crucial to ensure the longevity and success of your implants. If you've recently had dental implants or are considering them, it's essential to understand how to maintain them properly. In this blog post, we'll provide you with valuable tips for long-term success in caring for your dental implants. So let’s get started.

Dental Implant Care – 6 Top Tips

  1. Stick to a rigorous oral hygiene routine

The most common and avoidable cause of dental implant failure is infection. At any time during the life of a dental implant, a bacterial infection can cause its failure, which is why maintaining good oral hygiene forever is critical.  

Just like natural teeth, plaque and tartar can infect the soft and hard tissues surrounding a dental implant resulting in inflammation, infection and potential bone loss if not treated immediately. To prevent these events from happening it’s vital to brush meticulously to remove plaque effectively while being gentle enough to avoid damaging the gums. We recommend brushing at least twice a day using non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing once before bed.

Flossing plays a major role in helping us to keep our teeth and dental implants for longer and as far as the latter goes, it’s the best way for patients to clean 360 degrees below the gumline.  

To complete your oral hygiene routine, consider rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash. Doing so helps remove harmful bacteria, bring any inflammation under control, and promote healing. Our hygienists will be happy to show you how to floss properly and help you choose an appropriate mouthwash.

  1. Visit the dentist regularly

Regular dental check-ups are essential for everyone, but they become even more critical when you have dental implants. Our dentist will monitor the health of your implants, assess the condition of your gums, and perform professional cleanings to keep the implants in top shape. Aim for biannual dental appointments or as recommended by the dentist.

  1. Be mindful of what you eat in the short and long term

For the first one or two weeks following the dental implant procedure, patients are advised to stick to a softer diet since chewing can be difficult and the risk of complications is greater. Anything hard to chew should be avoided in favour of cooked soft food that slides down effortlessly. You’ll also need to avoid sugary, acidic beverages and drinking through straws as this could lead to the development of a dry socket.

So, what about long-term eating?

Since dental implants enable patients to retain around 80-90% of their natural chewing ability, it’s fair to say that most foods that can be cut with a fork are on the menu. That said, you may need to make some long-term considerations when deciding what you can and can’t eat. Let’s take a quick look at some popular foods to be mindful of:

  • Nuts – Nuts are a food group you can eat following the initial recovery period but we advise you to do so with caution. Nuts are quite hard and could cause problems. Don’t avoid eating the nuts you enjoy snacking on, but take care when biting into them.
  • Candy – We would love it if patients could avoid candy and chocolate altogether but we understand it’s a pleasurable indulgence. With dental implants, it’s best to steer clear of hard candies and chewy candies like taffy and caramels. It’s fine to eat a few M&Ms and other candies in moderation.
  • Popcorn – Generally, we recommend avoiding popcorn. Not only does it have the unique ability to get stuck between your teeth and cut up your gums but also there are those hard kernels that frequently pop up in the middle of a handful. These kernels are extremely hard and can crack a dental implant. If you can’t give up popcorn, then please eat it with extreme caution.
  • Apples and crunchy vegetables – Fresh fruit and veg have important health benefits but when eating them raw, we suggest cutting them into small pieces before consuming.
  • Coffee, black tea and red wine – Yes, to all of these but on the proviso you brush your teeth immediately to avoid discoloring your implants. Drinking water is a better option to keep your natural teeth and implants looking white and healthy.
  1. Say no to smoking and excessive alcohol

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can have adverse effects on your oral health and the success of your dental implants. Smoking can increase the risk of implant failure, while alcohol can contribute to gum disease. If you smoke or consume alcohol, consider seeking support to quit or reduce your consumption.

  1. Protect your dental implants with a mouthguard

If you participate in contact sports or activities that could result in facial trauma, it's a good idea to wear a mouthguard. A mouthguard can help protect your dental implants and the surrounding teeth from injury. Patients with a history of teeth grinding should also consider wearing a mouthguard when they sleep.

  1. Be aware of warning signs

Pay attention to any unusual symptoms or discomfort around your dental implants. If you notice bleeding, swelling, persistent pain, or any other concerning issues, contact your dentist promptly. Timely intervention can often prevent more significant problems from developing.

In conclusion, maintaining your dental implants is essential for their long-term success and your oral health. By following these tips and staying proactive in your implant care, you can enjoy your beautiful smile for many years to come.

Want to know if dental implants are right for you? Why not schedule a free consultation with Dr. Akinwande and the team at Chesterfield Dentistry? Call us at 314-936-3621 or use our online booking system.